35 Princess Ruby Princess Spring Break Cruise Reviews

I had never been to Alaska (or Canada) before, and I already had experience with Princess, so we booked this cruise. First off, the ship was really nice, way better than the Star Princess (which desperately needs an upgrade). The beds ... Read More
I had never been to Alaska (or Canada) before, and I already had experience with Princess, so we booked this cruise. First off, the ship was really nice, way better than the Star Princess (which desperately needs an upgrade). The beds are very, very comfortable. I booked a mini-suite, which I prefer over the suite due to the combination tub/shower. (I disliked the separate shower in the suite because it's tiny and there is nothing to hold onto). There was plenty of sitting room in the living area, plus there are two tv's in the stateroom. I enjoyed the overall look of the ship, which seems to have undergone an upgrade. The dining was good news/bad news: The Michaelangelo and Da Vinci dining rooms served very good food (included in the fare). The Crown Grill was just as outstanding on the Ruby as it had been on the Star (try their filet mignon!) and well worth the $29 charge. However, the Share by Curtis Stone and Salty Dog restaurants (which are not included in the fare) were major disappointments. The entertainment activities need improvement. There just isn't enough to do on the ship during the day. I enjoyed the night time entertainment in the various venues, and I really appreciated the first-run movies at my disposal. But there really isn't much to do before dinner. I would recommend replacing the often obnoxious trivia games with something more substantive, such as a lecture series. The service was really, really good. I cannot say enough about the consistent helpfulness of everyone I encountered. Bravo to Princess' training department! The ports were pretty good: Loved Skagway especially. I recommend taking the train ride there. I also enjoyed viewing Glacier Bay although I think it was twice as long as it should have been. But still, very beautiful. I would definitely go again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Wanted to go to Hawaii with our granddaughters. This is our third cruise on the Ruby and I have to say since our last cruise on Princess, the food has returned to it’s past excellence. The MDR staff we had were exceptional. Not sure if ... Read More
Wanted to go to Hawaii with our granddaughters. This is our third cruise on the Ruby and I have to say since our last cruise on Princess, the food has returned to it’s past excellence. The MDR staff we had were exceptional. Not sure if this was because we had the girls with us or not, but we had amazing service. This is the first time we had come in contact with the kids program and both granddaughters (8 & 17) were very happy with their experience. They really loved the whole cruise. We were told by many, that Princess was not a good line to take kids, but I disagree. I have absolutely no complaints about Princess and the Ruby, if only some passengers would up their game and realize they are not the only persons on earth. We were able to have my daughter son-in-law-law come aboard pre-cruise for a Bon Voyage visit, they had never cruised, so this was an excellent opportunity for them to check out our trip. The staff was also very attentive and kind to them also. We have never been disappointed with Princess Cruises. We did not go to all the shows, but what we did see, we enjoyed immensely. The cruise director was quite engaging and friendly. And he had a great crew to back him up. Our cabin attendant just got on the ship the same day we did, so he was extremely attentive and friendly. The staff at the International Cafe were all very friendly, not a bad one in the group. We also got amazing service in Vines. I have to admit, on this cruise I did not run into on crew member that looked pain or over their job. They all made eye contact and had a smile. Due to bringing guests onboard for the Bon Voyage we were allowed to check in first, so embarkation was extremely smooth. Got to say though, disembarkation was quite a bit slower, they were very behind in timing, as we had a ride waiting for us. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
I booked this cruise a full year in advance. My wife is a teacher and this was her Spring Break, so we did the 7 day Mexican Rivera Cruise. Our second time on this specific cruise and our 8th on Princess. Being frequent Princess ... Read More
I booked this cruise a full year in advance. My wife is a teacher and this was her Spring Break, so we did the 7 day Mexican Rivera Cruise. Our second time on this specific cruise and our 8th on Princess. Being frequent Princess cruisers we knew exactly what to expect and things were as we expected, and I like that. Some minor improvements have been made and some areas that could be improved. I booked a Balcony, but was offered the move-over to inside for a full refund and took the offer. The inside cabin on Rivera Deck was great, last cabin next to door to the rear pool area, so we had quick access to the outdoors. Giving up the balcony in exchange for 2 grand - turned out to be a blessing in disguise as the weather was gray, cold to cool and the last two days, 12 foot waves and 29 knot winds would have made the balcony less useful. We did Curtis Stones Share for the first time, why not with a huge OBC. It was good, even very good, but wouldn’t do it again. First the limited menu rules out repeat visits, unless willing to eat the same things, and while very good just didn’t seem to be up to the added cost. When I asked if the menu ever changes, the response was no. Not even an occasional seasonal addition. Dining room was good and as we have come to expect. But one reoccurring complaint is that getting a table for two is really a shared table. There was one foot between the left table and 18 inches between the right table, so your really sharing. Horizon Court was about what we have come to expect, good but not great. Entertainment was above average and very good. Photo services were excellent as in the past, and our favorite is still the cafe next to the coffee. Speaking of coffee, long lines….again. One person to take orders who walks around the corner to hand deliver a piece of paper to the person who makes the coffee, then walks back around to the order taking area, each time one order at a time. Very inefficient system that drove me crazy to watch this, even when there were 8 or 9 people in line. Loved the hop on and hop off bus in Matazan, wish that sort of thing was in all ports. Great flexibility to spend as much or as little time as you want at each stop. Cabo, still too little time in port - especially when using tenders. Cabin and cabin service outstanding, as always. No issues with a/c or toilet and room was spotless. The new beds are great, loved them. Boarding and disembarkation were great, best of any cruise line we have sailed on. Just 19 minutes from ship to car. Not filling out customs form a nice change. Princess is still our favorite and being platinum like that we each get 150 minutes of internet each cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
poor customer service by room steward and also inconsistent service by waiters in the buffet seating area. Also very poor selections on the buffet. just not upto princess standards Room service on day 2 and 3 would ring for a long time ... Read More
poor customer service by room steward and also inconsistent service by waiters in the buffet seating area. Also very poor selections on the buffet. just not upto princess standards Room service on day 2 and 3 would ring for a long time with no pick up or apology when they did pick up. Carnival was better and more prompt in my opinion..I would never go on this ship again. Only good points were anytime dining room staff were fantastic and embarkation and disembarkation was smooth. princess shore excursions are ridiculously expensive and just not worth it. Captains speech after safety drill not very welcoming. He said something like parents will be held accountable for childrens behavior. I understand the message but the delivery was rude and not very welcoming. Sets the tone on this ship for insconsistent and poor service throughout with very few exceptions.It starts at the top doesnt it? I should have listened to other reviews on cruise critic about this ship. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
I choose this cruise because it was only an hour flight from the Bay area where my grandson lives to fly to Los Angeles. I am so glad we choose the Ruby where I sailed several years ago on a TransAtlantic cruise on. The staff and the food ... Read More
I choose this cruise because it was only an hour flight from the Bay area where my grandson lives to fly to Los Angeles. I am so glad we choose the Ruby where I sailed several years ago on a TransAtlantic cruise on. The staff and the food were just great and we had a wonderful experience together. I could not have chosen a better ship to introduce my grandson to cruising. We enjoyed watching movies under the sky at night being cuddled in blankets and he thought it was wonderful to get pizza anytime he wanted. He actually also liked the formal dining room because the waiters and HWTR were so friendly with him and he was able to order Mac and Cheese. He loves basketball and was able to shoot some baskets on the 18th deck. Loved the ports and highly recommend the California coast trip on the Ruby Princess! Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We choose this cruise for the convenience of being able to travel from our home port of Los Angeles. This was our first cruise on Princess and will it will likely be out last. The overall experience was good but the Princess cruise ... Read More
We choose this cruise for the convenience of being able to travel from our home port of Los Angeles. This was our first cruise on Princess and will it will likely be out last. The overall experience was good but the Princess cruise experience did not compare favorably to our cruises on Celebrity and Holland America. SHIP: The ship is in good condition and seemed to be very clean and well maintained. I did not notice any of the soiled carpet/upholstery issues or areas of rust mentioned in other reviews. Many reviews have stated that the ship is "old", which I find strange since it was only built in 2008 and has undergone a refurbishment within the last 2-3 years. The cruise was sold out and the public areas of the ship seemed very crowded all the time. CABIN: BAJA B619 is a standard aft balcony cabin. One advantage of the cabins on this deck is that the balcony cannot be looked down into from the decks above. We could look down into the balconies of both decks below our deck. This cabin was smaller than the standard balcony cabins on Celebrity and HAL, with a much smaller bathroom and shower. There were also no foot stools for the deck chairs. DINING: The food in the MDR ranged from good to mediocre to not very good. The fried mixed seafood plate served at lunch was terrible. The breads and pastries were very good but some of the desserts were not. The bread pudding was awful and the gelato served in the MDR was tasteless and overly sweet. We did not eat in the buffet but it appeared to be smaller than the buffets on Celebrity and HAL. We dined in the Crown Grill and Share, where the food was good but nothing was outstanding. The overall food quality is far superior on Celebrity and HAL. BARS AND LOUNGES: I was surprised there was no bar/lounge in the bow of the ship with a panoramic sea view. Most of the bars/lounges were very large and were located on the lower decks. We much preferred the smaller more intimate bars/lounges on the Celebity and HAL ships for pre-dinner cocktails. In addition, there were no bar/lounges that offered the two for one drink specials that HAL offers on afternoon sailaway days, ENTERTAINMENT: Typical cruise ship entertainment. Enough said about that. THE SANCTUARY: Well worth the $20 per person charge for a half-day session. It really was a sanctuary away from the busy, noisy main pool areas. A light lunch selection was available for a $3 service charge and we were served a full tea service in the afternoon. CONCLUSION: The general atmosphere, service, food quality, etc. just did not measure up to the Celebrity or HAL experience and we probably would not sail with Princess again unless they were offering a voyage to a destination that Celebrity or HAL did not offer. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We chose this cruise because it was spring break, and on a Princess ship. We had wanted a 7 day cruise, but enjoy Princess so we went with the 5 day cruise that they offered. It was a great cruise. Jeb and Lito in the dining room really ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was spring break, and on a Princess ship. We had wanted a 7 day cruise, but enjoy Princess so we went with the 5 day cruise that they offered. It was a great cruise. Jeb and Lito in the dining room really made us feel like we were very special VIP passengers, even though we weren't. With the fixed dining time they really get to know your likes and things just miraculously appear without even having to ask. A great experience in the dining room. We also had a lot of fun onboard participating in activities and just lounging by the pool. The comedian, Robbie Printz, was super funny and my daughter laughed harder than I have seen her laugh in a long time. Embarkation was literally 20 minutes from curbside drop off to putting our carry-on's in the cabin. Disembarkation was about the same. Amazing. Princess does a great job. Crew members are all friendly and welcoming - we could not find a single one who wasn't. And the ship is clean and well kept, with elegant decor. It was a great trip. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We chose this ship and itinerary based on the scheduling needs of our college age kids, and because it was a shorter trip, the hope that more of our friends would be able to join us. The reason for the trip was to celebrate our upcoming ... Read More
We chose this ship and itinerary based on the scheduling needs of our college age kids, and because it was a shorter trip, the hope that more of our friends would be able to join us. The reason for the trip was to celebrate our upcoming 25th anniversary and vow renewal. We ended up with 14 family and friends joining us. In total, 9 cabins were booked. Two interiors, two balconies, a Club Class mini-suite, a vista suite, two PH suites and an owners suite. While I didn’t see all of the cabins, everyone was very happy with their accommodations. Embarkation was super smooth and fast. We arrived for boarding around 11am and were onboard within 20 mins. It was a sold out trip, over spring break, so I expected a longer process. Due to a recent accident, we had arranged a wheelchair assisted embarkation for my husband. That helped, but honestly, the rest of our group boarded in the same timely fashion. I’ve done a comprehensive review in the main Princess forum, which you can find via my user name, so will limit this review to general experiences. Unlike our first trip on the Ruby a year ago, the service was consistently excellent the whole trip. We had one majorly sub par situation in which 6 of us that had Club Class were told by the HW in CC, at 8:15 pm, that our party was too large to seat, they were closing in 20 minutes (a lie), we should have come at our assigned time (???? Didn’t know Anytime Dining meant I had to come at a set time) and that we had to go to the regular MDR to be seated. This is 1000% unacceptable. While I don’t expect any compensation for this, corporate will be hearing from me. I immediately went to the suite line at passenger services and complained. I was told someone would contact me. No one ever did. I chose not to waste valuable cruise time following up. The ship is in beautiful shape — I did not see anything of note in terms of unusual wear and tear. We spent a lovely morning in the Sanctuary (try it at least once!!) on this itinerary I suggest arrival morning in Cabo, port side window lounges. Less crowded and stunning views. We did have a lot of trouble, the entire cruise, getting anyone to answer the room service line. To the point of ridiculousness. Didn’t matter day or time, it just rang and rang. Disembarkation was a breeze — just insanely quick and easy. Only problem with it was it meant our cruise was over :-/ Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
The music entertainment in the Crooner's Lounge was particularly great [Funch is phenomenal]. We enjoyed the casino, the art auction, and the generally relaxed pace on board. An unexpected plus was unplugging from all of our ... Read More
The music entertainment in the Crooner's Lounge was particularly great [Funch is phenomenal]. We enjoyed the casino, the art auction, and the generally relaxed pace on board. An unexpected plus was unplugging from all of our smartphones, tablets, blog feeds, etc for a week. Afternoon cappuccino in the Atrium was always a treat. The cappuccino's were far better than the coffee generally--which was pretty average. The food was ok overall. Our favorite was the Salty Dog which advertises pub food -- but is more pub themed tapas -- and very good. The other dining [dinner] tended to trade volume for excellence. Skip the desserts. We opted to not book a Cabo activity/excursion and opted instead to go ashore and walk/explore for restaurants and bars. No lack of choices--the cervaza was cold and the food good. The nightlife picks up around 11 or so. The balcony was a really good add. We had good weather and could use it for our morning coffee and a glass of wine late--just enjoying the ocean. Can't review without mentioning the excellence of the cabin staff who keep the towels fresh and changed, the bed made, etc. They do great work. Overall--a really good trip. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
This sailing coincided with Spring Break for our town. It was our second cruise with Princess Cruises. The ship was very similar to the Golden Princess only larger. There were three adults traveling together and we chose a Club Class ... Read More
This sailing coincided with Spring Break for our town. It was our second cruise with Princess Cruises. The ship was very similar to the Golden Princess only larger. There were three adults traveling together and we chose a Club Class Mini-Suite. The cabin was very comfortable for three adults during the day and for sleeping. Once everyone was awake, we would immediately put the sofa bed away for more floor space. This cruise only makes one port call which is to Cabo San Lucas. We were looking forward to all of the sea days. Unfortunately for us, the weather leaving Los Angeles was chilly which limited our time on our balcony and also limited the time we could watch the Movies Under The Stars. Once we were further south, we had a chilly but very nice evening watching The Greatest Showman with fleece blankets and popcorn. We did an excursion in Cabo called the Exclusive Beach Resort Getaway (or something like that). It was very nice and right on the beach with available umbrellas even though we arrived in the afternoon. It included a drink/cocktail and buffet lunch. From the beach you could see the ship and El Arco (the Arch) which you can also see approaching the port from the ship. We thoroughly enjoyed our meals on the ship. Since we had Club Class dining, we did not experience any wait for a table during mealtimes. The meals in the main dining room were excellent. We dined in the Crown Grill for one meal and while it was good, I would not reserve it again. Many times for convenience, we dined in the Horizon Buffet and we liked all of the choices there as well. We purchased coffee cards and had many kinds of hot beverages from the International Cafe. This cruise is perfect for those looking for a relaxing experience. The entertainment was just okay, but we were not really disappointed or expecting superb entertainment. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We took a 5 day out of Los Angeles, it was a nice ship with kind employees. Not too big of a ship, and not too small. One of those that you become familiar with on your last day. I was not impressed with their buffet food whatsoever. Half ... Read More
We took a 5 day out of Los Angeles, it was a nice ship with kind employees. Not too big of a ship, and not too small. One of those that you become familiar with on your last day. I was not impressed with their buffet food whatsoever. Half of it was okay, the rest tasted off putting. We chose to do anytime dining and it wokred great for us. Pizza was great. Spa is even better with the best ladies. They were so helpful and not pushy on the products they used too much. The pools were nicely spaced out and there was plenty of space for everyone. The aft pool is the best. Their casino also had just enough space for everyone to enjoy. We never once felt cramped during this trip. The cabins were clean, and your stewards become your friends. Overall, it was a good time with a good price. I expected more from their food though. 7/10. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We took this cruise to celebrate my parents' 50th wedding anniversary. I'll start with the parts I was dissatisfied with and move on to the redeeming qualities. The main problem was that our rooms were insanely noisy. I have ... Read More
We took this cruise to celebrate my parents' 50th wedding anniversary. I'll start with the parts I was dissatisfied with and move on to the redeeming qualities. The main problem was that our rooms were insanely noisy. I have cruised a dozen times and am used to creaking and movement, but we experienced something way louder, a persistent knocking against the side of the boat all night, almost every night. I had to drug myself with melatonin to sleep at all. Moreover, the ship stabilizer gear was apparently so close to our cabin that it made the boat sound and feel as though it were running aground--and this at three in the morning! Impaired sleep definitely affected my ability to enjoy myself during the day. We were in cabins P329 and P333. i was also dissatisfied with most of the food. The main dining hall's food was just average. The Princess Classics or favorites were in serious need of updating, especially the poor quality shrimp cocktail. The worst meal, however, was the room service breakfast. That breakfast sandwich was abominable. On the positive side, some of the extra-fee dining options were good. We enjoyed the pub lunch at the Salty Dog and Curtis Stone's restaurant served the best meal we had on board, with incredibly attentive servers. Sadly, those exceptions only underscored the paltry offerings elsewhere. With the cabins and food being below average, you would think we had a terrible time, but we still had a very good time thanks to the amazing Cruise Director and his staff. Honestly, entertainment is NOT usually at the top of the list of my cares on a cruise, but that is precisely what saved this cruise for me. The contagious enthusiasm that the crew brought to every activity from game shows, to bingo, to night parties made the overall trip quite fun. We also enjoyed the comedian and especially the magician, whose subtle wit kept us guessing and laughing. So here's my advice: If you're going to take this cruise, take it only if you can afford to avoid the standard fare and creakier cabins. More advice: Whatever you do, don't work with Platinum Studios. We had to climb the ranks to corporate to get what we had ordered on the boat. Their pricing system is purposefully deceptive and expensive. Thanks for reading. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
I have always had a great experience Princess Cruises, excepts for this trip. Had this been my first experience, I would have been turned off. The food was very good, but the service was average. The servers at the main dining room ... Read More
I have always had a great experience Princess Cruises, excepts for this trip. Had this been my first experience, I would have been turned off. The food was very good, but the service was average. The servers at the main dining room were pleasant, but not fantastic. I did not get my drink at least twice. Lemincello was not offered to me on Italian Night. The last night we decided to dine at the Trident Grille (for Ribs) and the buffet. This was my first dinner experience at the buffet. I always opt for the main dining room. I was VERY impressed. The served lobster at the buffet, but not at the MDR. The food was prepared well and there were many choice. We had great drink service there as well. We really enjoyed tea the afternoon. My balcony smelled like vomit and had pieces of food were left there. I asked for it to be cleaned, and the steward cleaned it but it bothered me throughout my cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We chose this cruise because we were meeting up with family from 4 states for a Spring Break cruise. The Ship was at full capacity. Embarkation went extremely fast - couldn't believe how quickly we were able to board. The ship ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we were meeting up with family from 4 states for a Spring Break cruise. The Ship was at full capacity. Embarkation went extremely fast - couldn't believe how quickly we were able to board. The ship was beautiful, clean, and welcoming. Lots of staff available and willing to direct and help us. We loved that the non-alcoholic drink package included mocktails and milkshakes. The meals in the dining room were the best we've had on a cruise (this was our 4th cruise). We loved the entertainment offered. The comedian A J Jamal was absolutely hilarious!! We wish he performed in the big theater because the explorer lounge was packed for both his performances. The productions shows, especially Magic to Do, were also great. We loved the Voice of the Ocean too! My niece was a finalist so it was extra fun. The outdoor movies were current movies and the sound and viewing were great. We loved how they provided cushions and blankets at night. Service was good. We had 4 people (2 adults two teens) in our cabin and our room steward did great keeping us well stocked and cleaned up despite our messes. We were surprised with the closet and storage space. The beds were super comfy too. In Mazatlan we took the Hop on Hop off excursion ($40 per person). It was a total waste of money. We would have been much wiser and lots of $ ahead to just take taxi's to the destinations we wanted to go to. We had to wait for the tour buses that were over crowded. The sites they drop you off (except the old town-which was very cool) were just places for the locals to prey on you to buy their wares. The cliff divers were underwhelming and then they surrounded us until we paid up the tips they wanted. In Cabo we did not book a shore excursion through the ship, Once on shore we booked a glass bottom boat to take us to El Arco - they range btw $10-20 per person. We paid $20 but only had 7 of us on the boat so it was nice and personal. So awesome - a must do! We also had a super fun and memorable experience eating at Gordo Le Le's in town. His very small hole in the wall taco shop is covered in Beatles memorabeila and he performs Beatles songs and other oldie but goodies when asked. It was a blast. We also loved all the sea life in Cabo. Our stop there was only 5 hours and we would have loved to stay longer. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
This was our first Princess cruise, but our 10th overall. We've mostly cruised HAL and Disney, with a couple of short Royal cruises as well. The short version is that it was a good cruise and we found a lot to like about Princess. ... Read More
This was our first Princess cruise, but our 10th overall. We've mostly cruised HAL and Disney, with a couple of short Royal cruises as well. The short version is that it was a good cruise and we found a lot to like about Princess. Nothing was bad, and a few things were very good indeed. Embarkation was smooth. The rooms were basically ready when we got on, though someone (not our attendant) was just finishing up vacuuming one of our rooms, and the bed configuration wasn't what we asked for. The bed thing was fixed while we were at lunch, so no harm no foul. The food was uniformly good, with some very good items here and there. The beef tenderloin I was served at the embarkation sit-down lunch definitely exceeded expectations and set a great tone for the rest of the cruise. MDR food was generally good. Crown Grill was very good. The meat quality at Crown wasn't quite up to the fanciest steakhouses (maybe a notch below HAL's Pinnacle), but it was perfectly cooked, and all the appetizers and sides were winners. Share was probably the second-best restaurant we've ever been to on a cruise ship (first is Remy, on the Disney Fantasy). We made another reservation for later in the cruise, and we enjoyed it just as much. The pool-deck pizza was above average. The crust was great, if you enjoy a kind of thin, almost cracker-like crust (which I do). The toppings weren't ultra-gourmet, but it had good flavor and a nice balance of cheese and sauce. The burgers were pretty ordinary, but fine. The food from the International Cafe was always good and fresh, but we only had snacks there from time to time. We didn't try the Salty Dog or the crab shack dinner. Entertainment was hit or miss. Overall, it compared well with HAL. The "Magic To Do" show was really top-notch for a non-Disney cruise stage show. The other stage shows were good. The lead performers were all very good singers, but a couple were not really up to the very limited acting required. The bands and piano guys were fine. We're used to very friendly service being the norm on cruises in general, and on this cruise we had an unexpectly large number of service staff that seemed... I don't know, resigned or something. Not rude or unpleasant, just maybe a little stressed out. We also encountered some very friendly staff as well, just fewer than we've seen on other cruises. I don't know if Princess just strives for a "quiet competence" kind of service rather than an overtly friendly style, or if folks were extra stressed for some reason. It wasn't a problem for us, but it was notable. As far as activities, we felt like there was less to do that we liked on this cruise than we've experienced on HAL or Disney (but probably more than on Royal). We got a lot of reading done, which isn't a bad thing. There were, of course, the usual shopping talks, art auctions, sales presentations, bingo sessions and casino specials, all of which are completely uninteresting to us. So mostly we wen't to game-show and trivia kinds of things. There was a singing piano guy, who was competent but not really engaging. He never really got much interaction with the audience going. The band was fine. The cruise director (Matt) was fun and energetic, and we enjoyed everything he led, but he didn't lead everything. We didn't take any Princess shore excursions, as we didn't see anything that attracted us. In San Francisco we just booked our own tickets to Alcatraz, which was worth seeing, and we did some wandering and rode a cable car. We've been there many times, so it was familiar. In Santa Barbara we wandered, had a nice lunch and saw the mission, which is perfectly nice. In San Diego we went (on our own) to the Safari Park, which is great and we wished we had blocked out more time for it. In Ensenada we went to the blowhole (la bufadora), which was OK, and had some ceviche from La Guerrerense, which was awesome. Disembarkation was about par for the course for most cruise lines, which is to say a bit chaotic. We really like the way HAL now lets you wait in your cabin for your disembark group to come up. Hopefully Princess will adopt the same system at some point. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
My husband and I are active travelers and enjoy being outdoors. We have been on Princess Cruises in several countries, and our cruise experiences have all been so outstanding that we were excited about booking this Mexican Riviera cruise ... Read More
My husband and I are active travelers and enjoy being outdoors. We have been on Princess Cruises in several countries, and our cruise experiences have all been so outstanding that we were excited about booking this Mexican Riviera cruise during our Spring Break. My husband's brother joined us on this cruise (in his own cabin) as a mini family reunion. As I am a teacher, our travels usually occur during school breaks. We had not been to this part of Mexico before and were looking forward to exploring it. CATALINA ISLAND: Because the cruise departs from San Pedro, CA, we decided to visit Catalina Island before the cruise. Transportation from LAX was a breeze with the LAX Flyaway to Long Beach for a very reasonable price, excellent schedule and quick service. We then caught the Catalina Express ferry to Avalon, where we stayed for two nights at the Avalon Hotel. What a friendly, charming little inn in a central location! For three days we hiked, biked, and toured the island, most of which is a nature preserve. If you go, check out the excellent happy hour at the Lobster Trap restaurant. It was a relaxing way to start the vacation. Then we took the ferry back to San Pedro. PRE-CRUISE HOTEL: We stayed at the Crowne Plaza Los Angeles Harbor Hotel for the night before the cruise. The location is perfect, as it is close enough to the ferry dock and the cruise terminal to walk. We walked from the ferry dock at night, and the route is well-lit and felt safe, with people out walking their dogs or strolling. It took 15-20 minutes with wheeled luggage. The hotel also offers a shuttle for $5.00 per person, but we love walking. There are several eateries in the area, and our favorite was Happy Diner a block away. Make sure to try their Huevos Rancheros and Breakfast Burritos for breakfast! CRUISE DAY: On cruise day, we walked from the hotel to the cruise terminal, stopping along the way to purchase our two allowed bottles of wine. As we entered the parking area and approach to the terminal, a free shuttle bus picked us up and saved us a few steps. Embarkation was a breeze, as there were not many people checking in at the time. Also, we were allowed to bring our own luggage on board. In the past, we had to leave the luggage and have it brought to the room, later than I would have liked. We were able to unpack and settle into our cabin before the sailaway! It was very interesting sitting on the balcony with a glass of wine and sailing through a working shipping port, one of the busiest in the world. OUR CABIN: The cabin was nice, like other Princess balcony cabins we'd had before. There's lots of room for everything you need for a week on the ship. The bed was extremely comfy! There are only two outlets at the desk, so we brought a plug in outlet cube that gave us 4 all together, enough for charging all our devices. The bathroom has large bottles of body wash and shampoo. Bring your own conditioner, or your hair will become very dry. We also had a small bar of soap and a tube of lotion. ROCK AND ROLL: One thing we noticed on this cruise that we had never dealt with before was loud creaking and popping sounds when the ship was underway at the beginning and ending days (sea days) of the cruise. The seas were not rough at all, but you could feel the movement of the ship. We checked everywhere in the room for anything that might have been loose or hitting something else, but the sounds came from the walls. The loud noises really affected the quality of our sleep, as the ship usually sails all night. We talked to our steward about it and he said that it's always like that. It was not like that on any of the other 7 Princess ships we have sailed on, and those were in rougher seas at times. DINING: We tried several of the dining options on the Ruby Princess. For breakfast, we usually went to the buffet, but on this ship we noticed that there was not much variety from day to day. It was the same basic items daily, and they were prepared adequately, but not very interesting or imaginative. The fresh fruit was nice. Dinner in the buffet was a different story, with lots of variety and choices, and of course the salad bar. It was ALWAYS hard to find a table to eat at in the buffet. Room service was consistent, with a limited variety of items. The anytime dining room dinners were excellent, especially the prime rib and the filet mignon with shrimp, but both nights we were there the service was very slow. One night it took us 90 minutes from start to finish, so we missed a show. The real stars of the ship were the Trident Grill, where we had perfectly cooked cheeseburgers, and the Pizzaria, which serves delicious fresh hot slices. The Grill also served barbequed ribs one night. ENTERTAINMENT: We enjoyed the lounge musicians, but avoided the Piazza, which was always jammed with people. The production shows were ok but not stellar, and the comedian was hilarious! It was often hard to find seating in all the venues, even the Princess Theater. The best show we saw onboard was the Folkloric Show in Puerto Vallarta. It was EXCELLENT. ACTIVITIES: As first-time Mexico cruisers, we had not anticipated the number of children who would be aboard. The pools and hot tubs were filled with people at all times. We never got a chance to play ping-pong, mini-golf, or basketball because those areas were constantly full of people. "Hiking" around the ship for exercise, a favorite pastime of ours, became frustrating because of the groups of kids running around yelling or loitering in the halls and stairways. Empty elevators often had all the buttons pressed to stop at each floor. With 3 sea days, had I known in advance, I would have avoided booking this particular itinerary. SERVICE: The service on our previous Princess Cruises has been most excellent. This cruise felt somewhat different. We did not receive our famous emblem tote bag because they were out. We had to ask for robes. We had to get up and get our own drinks and silverware in the buffet. On Princess Cruises, usually the staff is so gracious and accommodating. On this cruise, we sometimes felt as though the staff was overworked and too busy to serve us. The one shining exception was our waiter in the bar, who remembered our names and drink orders although we did not go there often. PORTS AND SHORE EXCURSIONS: This itinerary started with two sea days, then we went to Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, and Cabo San Lucas, followed by another sea day, then arrival back at Los Angeles. Puerto Vallarta was a beautiful port. You walk directly off the ship into a large plaza area surrounded with shops and restaurants. I wish we could have had more time to explore the town, but we were on a Princess tour for almost the entire day. We went on the Vallarta Adventures tour featuring horseback riding to Quimixto Waterfall, snorkeling, and lunch and kayaking on Pizota Beach. We loved our guide, Hugo! The ride to Quimixto on the Apex inflatable boats was fast and fun! The walk through the village and horseback ride to the waterfall was exciting for a first timer, and we had time to have a snack and a swim in the pool. Then a horseback return (downhill!) to the village and back on the boats to the snorkeling spot. The snorkeling was not great at this time of year, murky water, and not many fish. The lunch at Pizota Beach was the standard delicious barbeque: chicken, fish and beef with sides and open bar. We had about 90 minutes at the beach and although kayaking was supposed to be part of the tour, there were none offered, just two standup paddle boards. After the tour, we tucked into the local market for some souvenirs as it is located right next to the dock. This tour was a 4 out of 5; we enjoyed it except for the snorkeling/no kayaks and it was a bit pricey. In Mazatlan, when you leave the ship, you have to take a free shuttle through the shipping area to the terminal, so factor that extra time in. We booked a 5 hour tour to the Verde-Camacho Turtle Sanctuary directly on the internet with Turtle Tours Mazatlan. They were very easy to deal with and communicated with us regularly before the tour. They picked us up at the dock and took us on a mini-tour through the city before taking us to their sanctuary about 20 minutes out of town. We loved being in a small group of 8 people, and Misael and Eduardo were very knowledgeable and graciously answered our many questions about the area, the sanctuary, and the lifestyle. We toured the turtle hatchery and facility, then were served fresh fruit. After that, Eduardo took our party of 3 on an ATV tour of the sanctuary to view the beach and wetlands, along with its many inhabitants! It was extremely beautiful and unspoiled. We saw birds galore, and the tracks of the resident crocodile. Unfortunately due to the low water levels related to this year's weather, we were not able to take the kayaks through the mangrove wetlands as we had hoped. Following that, we were served a delicious meal of tortillas, beans, scrambled eggs, and homemade salsa with chips. Then it was off on a guided walk through the dryland forest of the preserve, where we saw the many native plants of the area. When we returned from our trek, we were surprised by a plate of ceviche, so fresh and delicious. I had no idea on booking this tour that it would be not only a wildlife adventure, but also a foodie tasting tour as well. Normally we would have been allowed to help release the baby turtles into the ocean, but nature did not allow it on this trip. Hopefully we will be able to visit again in the future. We gave this tour a 6 out of 5 stars, it was an outstanding experience. We recommend it highly, especially since the reasonable cost of the tour directly benefits the sanctuary's work preserving sea turtles and educating children about ecology. After the turtle tour, we had 3.5 hours before the ship departed, so we decided to climb to the El Faro lighthouse at the top of Cerro del Creston (Creston Hill). It's super close to the dock, and the turtle tour guys were nice enough to drop us off at the base of the hill. (Thanks Misael and Eduardo!) In fact, they offered to come back for us to give us a ride to the ship. So awesome. Anyway, the walk to the lighthouse starts near a wastewater treatment plant, but the smell is not too bad. The trail is rough and rocky at first, but with an easy slope. Further up the hill there are paved stairs. It's easy but bring water, as it gets hot in the sun. The views along the way are beautiful! At the top you are rewarded with a 360 degree view! There is a little shop where you can buy a cold drink. Listen for the barking of the seals from a little island offshore. It took us only about 25 minutes each way, with lots of stopping for pictures. The walk back to the ship took about 20 minutes, but we could have easily hailed a pulmonia cab for just a few bucks. If you love hiking, El Faro lighthouse is a must do. If you missed opportunities for shopping as we did, the cruise terminal has souvenirs and clothing and there is a nearby arts and crafts center with many vendors. In Cabo San Lucas, the ship docked from 7am to 1:15pm, not much time to explore. The ship is anchored in the middle of the bay and tenders transport passengers to shore. We booked the Sea of Cortez Zodiac Raft and Snorkel Tour through the ship, which was a 3.5 hour tour. We cruised on small inflatable boats past Lovers Beach, stopped at El Arco for photos, saw the sea lion colony, and we even saw a whale! We then sped (fun!) to the first stop, Santa Maria Bay. We jumped in and were surprised that the water felt so cold. They fed the fish there, so we were surrounded by hundreds of colorful fish! The guide snorkeled with us, and showed us cool things like a shark and a puffer fish. Then we climbed the ladder back into the boat and motored on to Chileno Bay. Not everyone went back in because they were a bit cold, but I'm glad we did because it was different. On the way back, we zoomed along and surfed the turquoise waves at Medano Beach. One of the funniest things we've seen is the smart sea lions who swim up and perch on the transoms of the fishing boats as they enter the harbor for a fish snack. We gave this tour a 4 out of 5 because the water was uncomfortably cold, but at another time of the year it might be warmer. The tour guides were very friendly, one even took my camera down to take a picture of the shark for me! After the tour, we only had a little time to walk along the waterfront, which is vast and lined with restaurants and shops. The handicraft market near the tender port has a lot of local items. There was a man giving visitors chunks of fish to feed a huge sea lion at the boat ramp. Bring money for the public bathroom, you have to pay a dollar to use it! All in all, a Princess Cruise is one of our favorite ways to travel. We love the convenience of unpacking just once and having your hotel, restaurants, and transportation all in one, so that we can focus our attention on the places we are visiting. We love getting off the ship at every port and exploring just as much as we can without worrying about all the details of travel that can take so much attention. We're not big fans of sea days, and we usually try to choose cruises that have as few as possible. This cruise had three sea days, and it seemed as though there were SO many people (especially unsupervised children) in the public areas almost all the time, to the point that we could not enjoy the amenities of the ship. We will definitely travel with Princess again, but we'll avoid the Mexican Riviera during school holidays. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We are loyal Princess Platinum members. We haven't been to Mexico since 2009 so decided to go from our Southern Oregon home to find the sun during spring break. Embarkation: Good but not great. Took us about an hour even with ... Read More
We are loyal Princess Platinum members. We haven't been to Mexico since 2009 so decided to go from our Southern Oregon home to find the sun during spring break. Embarkation: Good but not great. Took us about an hour even with priority boarding. We watched one elderly gentleman who had been anxiously pacing around the waiting area finally go to the wheelchair area and sit down in a chair only to be wheeled on board right away before any of the rest of us. We saw him later on the cruise several times walking around! Lol! Sea Days South: We had an obstructed view window cabin on Emerald deck and lucked out as we had no obstruction to speak of. I've never seen the weather so nice as it was these two days on our way to Puerta Vallarta. We discovered Los Brilliantes band. They played throughout the cruise and took requests. They were awesome, even doing some Carlos Santana! We ate in Horizon court, choosing to put on a vinyl glove for the serving line as we were both victims of Norovirus on our last cruise and have seen what people do in the serving area! Puerta Vallarta: We took the Las Callentas Beach Tour off the boat. It was great. Nice beach with normal assortment of activities. Nice clean beach with clear water and golden pebbled sand. We had one of the best lunches ever with fresh vegetables, salad, fruit, and jerked chicken. You get to Las Callentas by catamaran and there is an open bar and music and entertainment by the zany crew. They also entertained on the way back to the port! I won't give away their show, but suffice it to say you won't be bored. Mazatlán: If you like cities you may like this port better than we did. Bad traffic, smog, and pushy vendors abound here! We paid $1 to pee and that was kind of a mini-characterization of our day here. There was road construction and so our Hop-on-Hop off bus tour was more Hop off and wait for an hour, then Hop-on and get back to the boat as fast as we could! Cabo: Nice day walking around shopping here. If I was the captain we would skip Mazatlán and spend two days here! We had a really good lunch involving Cervesas, chips, Fresh Salsa and Guacamole. The chips were fresh made and so good! Sea Days back to LA: Nice relaxing cruise the rest of the Cabo day, but the next day the temperature dropped and the wind picked up. Lots of passengers were sea sick as the boat lurched around on big rollers. We survived sticking close to the lower center of the ship listening to the bands and munching from the International Café. Other: The food on the boat was good, but not great overall. The shrimp and lobster were very good and I enjoyed some decent cuts of beef. We really enjoyed the salad bar and the fruit from Horizon court. Some desserts were good, but not as wonderful as other boats we have been on. There were no Cherries Jubilee, and no Chocolate Melting Cake. My wife enjoyed the Crème Brule' but there was also no Key Lime pie that I saw. It apparently worked to use the glove in the Horizon court and we made a special point to thoroughly wash with soap and water whenever using a public restroom. We had good service in the dining room but skipped it on three nights after checking out the menu and not finding something that peaked our interest enough to get dressed up again. We used the fitness center several times in the morning. My wife often had to wait for a elliptical machine ( her favorite) but since having bi-lateral knee replacement I preferred the elliptical bikes. They were never all busy. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
I planned this spring break cruise for myself and my 13yr old granddaughter. She joined the teen group on the first day. They had a lot of activities that she enjoyed: game playing, bracelet making, button making, and decorating a small ... Read More
I planned this spring break cruise for myself and my 13yr old granddaughter. She joined the teen group on the first day. They had a lot of activities that she enjoyed: game playing, bracelet making, button making, and decorating a small backpack. They had movies, a hot tub party, and a special teen dance in Club Fusion. She. made several good friends. The Ruby Princess was well prepared for the onslaught of kids on Spring Break. In addition to the special children's activities they offered many family oriented activities. There were contests in the Piazza, such as paper airplanes, ring toss and 60 second challenges. While the children were occupied, there are many activities and entertainment for the adults. My favorite are the trivia challenges and the contests. It is a great way to meet other passengers. The comedian, AJ Jamal (?), was very funny. It takes quite a lot for me to laugh at a comedian , but he actually had me laughing out loud. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
I chose this sailing because my significant other was on vacation, along with thousands of others. I had sailed this route before on the tail end of a Panama Cruise transit. I thought my partner would really enjoy visiting this part of ... Read More
I chose this sailing because my significant other was on vacation, along with thousands of others. I had sailed this route before on the tail end of a Panama Cruise transit. I thought my partner would really enjoy visiting this part of Mexico. Although the ship was extremely crowded with over 400 children on board we did have a great time. The captain made an announcement at the beginning of the cruise that parents would be responsible for bad behavior on the part of their children. It seemed parents took the warning to heart. It wound up being very relaxing, You could forget using the main pools or the main deck hot tubs, but the adult pool and hot tub on deck 15 was very quiet. Quiet was enforced because it was right next to the Sanctuary, a paid area of quiet and relaxation. Food/Dining The galley serves food for 3000 passengers and 1100 crew. It’s an amazing feat and Princess does a great job. We had an 8PM sitting in the Botticelli Dining room. We intended to try the Crown Grill Steakhouse, but didn’t make it. I heard great things about the Crown Grill and specialty Share by Curtis Stone from other passengers. We usually had lunch in the DaVinci dining room and shared a table which got us acquainted with many interesting people from all over the Country and Canada. We also ate breakfast there. It is open from 7-9 AM so you’ll be in the Horizon Court if you are a late sleeper. Main dining: The wait staff was excellent as always. After the first night I had a glass of iced tea waiting for me when I sat down. Food presentation is always very attractive. While the other passengers did not often share my opinion, I did not enjoy a few of my entrees. Lobster night was very good, but I found the tenderloin pre-processed with a “leftover” taste. Lamb chops were overcooked and I did not like them served with kidney. My partner took care of the waste. We sat at a table for six and enjoyed our dinner partners very much. We had lively fun conversations every night. Horizon Court this was my biggest disappointment. I usually try to avoid the buffet, but this one I really stayed away from. The selection is fairly limited as buffets go, and the space itself is pretty small and cramped at times with a fairly poor flow. I don’t know if the buffet is being reduced all over Princess or just on the Ruby, but it was not what I remember on my last Princess Cruise. The view is nice. The service is good too - you can get your own drinks, or the servers will bring them as well. Tips: Caribe Cafe is basically just an extension of Horizon Court - I didn’t really see very much that they had out that was very different. So, if space is tight and Caribe is open, you can always eat there. International cafe: We liked the international Cafe! I think this is a great addition to the ships. It’s the one place that is open 24 hours a day, just in case you are hungry at 3am. The International Cafe serves freshly brewed coffee and espresso drinks, as well as drinks from the bar, and all day and night they have sandwiches and small plates of salads and desserts. It’s the perfect afternoon snack while waiting for that 8 PM dinner. There is no charge for any of the delicious desserts or food items - they are served on small plates though, so if you want a lot you might just need to make a few trips to the counter. They appeared to be giving people whatever they wanted though (I’ll have a tuna sandwich, and a roast beef sandwich, and a tiramisu.”) They brew fresh drip coffee at International Cafe... I much preferred it to the dining room coffee. The prices are very fair - about what you’d expect to pay at your local Starbucks - around 2.50. They also offer specialty coffees and teas. There’s a nice little seating area just off the Piazza, and it’s really a nice place to be, day or night. If you do grab one of the chairs first, there is a wait staff that will come and take your order. Shops : The shopping is decent on the Ruby Princess. The main gift shop has some nice items, and the prices really aren’t bad. They have some fun Princess Logo items, duty free liquor, chocolates, and some clothes. The price of the clothes appears to be about the same as you’d find on land, minus the tax. There is a makeup store, and of course the duty-free liquor store. A watch store named Facets and an “Effy” jewelry store. They also sell Women’s and men’s clothing on board. My SI bought a watch in Facets, which he is thrilled with. Shore excursions/ ports: This was a Mexican Riviera cruise. The itinerary was: At sea, At sea, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlán and a short day at Cabo, followed by one more day at sea. Puerto Vallarta: I had been here before on another cruise and was excited to take the Tequila Factory tour with the Flamenco dancers. The tour turned out to be a real dud. The Tequila Factory was cut out and a movie of a Tequila operation was substituted. The Flamenco dancing show was good. The substitution of the movie for the actual factory wasn’t clear in the description and I was so disappointed. Streets in PV are crowded and primitive. Mazatlán: We did not schedule a tour here, but were convinced to take a personal tour when we went ashore. "Mazatlán Van Tours" provided us with a personal driver name Gilberto who showed us the town and filled us in on anything we wanted to know for the modest amount of $25 per person. There is not a whole lot to see there but I am sure he would have taken us to some good shopping if we wanted some souvenirs. Cabo: This is a tender port and we were in port from 7 to 1:30. We felt it was too short to go ashore. Brian went to the Lotus Spa and got the 20/20/20 massage. He loved it and was impressed with the skill of the masseuse. Internet: Just plain horrible, the worst I have experienced on a ship. I didn’t bother using 100 of my minutes. It was too slow and so frustrating. Entertainment: There was not a lot offered in Discovery@sea. I went to a device learning experience which I found a waste of time. Most nights you could not get into the Explorers Lounge to see a show. It was so crowded people were filling up the walking area. I guess you had to plan way ahead for those shows. MUTS showed academy award shows as well as recent movies. It was too cool on deck for us to take advantage. The theatre offered a couple of good stage shows; we found something to do every night. I consider cruising a great value. You have lodging, meals, entertainment and travel all in one package, without packing and unpacking. While this was not the greatest cruise of the 12 I have taken, we still managed to have a great, relaxing time. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Have been on this ship to the same places before (Ruby) this time, however, there were too many people on the ship. Dining was hurried, the buffet was always full so one would have to go outside on the deck to eat most times unless you ... Read More
Have been on this ship to the same places before (Ruby) this time, however, there were too many people on the ship. Dining was hurried, the buffet was always full so one would have to go outside on the deck to eat most times unless you got there really early. It was always a rush to get to the show or other activities due to the dining rooms being so full that service was slower than usual. Then they wanted you out so that they could clear the tables ready for the next sitting. On the Sunday evening we had opted for the Anytime Dining, got there at 5:30 - lined up for 45 mins, then got a buzzer. Then had to go upstairs to the Botticelli dining room. We were put in a corner on our own and it was my husband's birthday and we knew they usually come in with a cake and candle etc. This didn't happen as there was no point and no atmosphere to have a great birthday! However, the staff and crew were fabulous under the very stressful circumstances. We had been on this cruise twice before and it was great, due to LESS PEOPLE! I do think on this particular cruise (March 4-11), the management cut corners, the entertainment was quite dreadful, very amateurish, specially the "Magician". The theatre was always so very full and it was a rush to get there and get a seat. We got there and waited an hour for the show to start just so we could get a seat. The offshore excursion was expensive for what we did. So disappointed this time that its put me off for awhile. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We always cruise the first week in December for our Anniversary. We decided to sail on this cruise as we have never sailed the Mexican Riviera, The Service was excellent and the Food on board ship was Great. The shore excursion that ... Read More
We always cruise the first week in December for our Anniversary. We decided to sail on this cruise as we have never sailed the Mexican Riviera, The Service was excellent and the Food on board ship was Great. The shore excursion that we selected was Horse Back Riding on the Beach in Cabos San Lucas. It was an incredible experience and the people that ran this excursion were excellent. It was a great experience and well worth the money. The Employees at the excursion made all riders feel comfortable and welcome. They took extremely good care of us and enforced all safety regulations. It was awesome. Embarkation and disembarkation was a dream, The transfers crew from LAX were amazing! They knew exactly who we were without us saying our names. They were fabulous!! We have been on many cruises and have used transfers, but have never been greeted like this, We will definitely take this cruise again and recommend it to family and friends! Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
This was our thirteenth cruise, third with Princess and also third on this same itinerary. We are a late 40s couple with older teenagers. This is the perfect cruise. Several sea days to relax from the stress of work, life, and getting ... Read More
This was our thirteenth cruise, third with Princess and also third on this same itinerary. We are a late 40s couple with older teenagers. This is the perfect cruise. Several sea days to relax from the stress of work, life, and getting ready for a cruise. Then you have four great stops in beautiful locations with no pushy vendors. Finally several sea days to relax from vacation and get you ready for the rat race again. Embarkation: we usually arrive to the port early to take our chances on boarding early. This time we did not get there at 12:30. The advantage was we were on the ship in about 20 minutes. The Ship: at first I didn’t care much for the Ruby, lots of dead-ends and wasted space. But after a while it grew on me and it was pretty nice for a larger (not mega) ship. It was in remarkably good shape for not being refurbished in so long. Starting from the top; the jogging track around the miniature golf course was really small. Sixteen laps is one mile. The surface was hard like concrete and people casually strolled around it making it difficult to pass in its narrow course. I tried jogging on deck seven which circumnavigated the entire ship -if you don’t mind stairs. That was more open but sometimes crowded with walkers going both directions. There wasn’t any “No Jogging” signs as some reviewers stated, just a sign that said “Walk-a-Mile 2 ½ laps”. I always gave walkers the right of way though. This was the best deck to see the ocean up close. The best place to jog ended up being the upper Lido deck. It went almost around the entire ship with no stairs and had an outdoor turf like mat that was soft to run on. You just had to be done by 8:30 am or so when sunbathers started coming out. Skywalkers Lounge on deck 18 aft was a relaxing place to hide out and watch the horizon. The outdoor movie screen looks about ready to be replaced but it was functional. The pools were a little cool but OK. There were two very similar outdoor pools next to each other. The one at the middle of the ship had the movie screen and nicer chairs, the one just forward of that had the outdoor grill and was were the band would play in the afternoon. Some hot-tubs were warmer than others so find one that suits your fancy. The Sanctuary was really posh but for $40 a day was understandably deserted. Princess needs to rethink that concept. The pool and Jacuzzis below the Sanctuary are free and rarely used. There were plenty of chairs but not always were you wanted them. I wish people would remove their towels when no longer using chairs. You can’t tell if they are coming back or just too lazy to pick up their towels. If you want to save a chair make sure you leave some personal article, hat, book, etc so people know you are coming back. First you should never save chairs but if you must, do not be upset if someone does not respect your rule breaking. On a crowded day we saw some chairs with a towel, asked the guy next to them if he knew if they were still taken, he said no one had been there in a long time. We removed the towels and sat down. A lady came from sitting on another chair in the shade and said we were rude for moving her towel! The gym was pretty well equipped, the cardio machines all have TVs so bring earphones. It is pretty full between 7 and 8:30 am. The Princess theater would get crowded early for the first show but not usually for the second. The International Café in the Piazza on deck 5 had some great salads but I was disappointed to see many of the stylish desserts that were free two years ago now cost a couple bucks. I never saw anyone buy them. Princess must lose money on them. They sold “Gelato” there, 3 big scoops for $1.50 which wouldn’t be bad but it wasn’t much different than regular ice cream. The dining rooms were fairly simple but elegant. The Library had lots of board games to borrow. Service: Overall very good. We did get the impression, some of the crew tried not to exert themselves though. Just small things like not setting up all the deck chairs unless it was getting crowded, permanently closing the secret deck (Lido forward) that is usually open until out on high seas, no towels at the pools at front and back of ship, etc. Maybe it was policy but these type of things seemed designed to save labor and left a bad impression. Otherwise saw a lot of crew working hard. Entertainment: Princess has improved their shows a lot in the last few years. The singers and dancers were top notch –for a cruise. I saw the same comedian two years ago. Same jokes but they were still funny. Robert Schirn, a retired Deputy D.A. created a unique lecture series on famous crimes. My wife didn’t miss any of them. The material was great, Schirn is definitely not a professional speaker but was good enough to keep CSI fans entertained. Likewise the naturalist was not a great speaker but had great material. I was disappointed with the schedule times for the evening entertainment. Two years ago the time slots allowed early and late diners opportunities to see everything. Now you often had to choose if you had a set dining time. Maybe Princess is trying to cater to the “anytime” diners or force people to the buffet but it just frustrated lots of people. But we still managed to see most of what we wanted through careful planning. Food: the most important subject to me, seemed as good as ever. Sure there were lots of things I did not like but if you eat something you do not like on a cruise it is your fault. There is always enough choices to find something delicious. One man complained on the second day that the breakfast buffet was no better than hospital food. I admit the selection didn’t change much but with dozens of choices, made to order omelets, fresh squeezed OJ, and lots of curious European delicacies, I think he must frequent a mental hospital. At peak breakfast time they open the Café Caribe buffet. It is located at the far aft and just looks like the normal Lido buffet but it has only a limited menu there so unless you want the typical breakfast foods, go to the mid-ship buffets. The pool grill had good fries, otherwise it was nothing special but I still frequented it. The pizzas were good but way too many anchovy/fish specials. The best was a pesto pizza but they only had it one day. We were served lobster twice; decent size tails. They even served them in the buffet. My son had five of them in the buffet and another two in the dining room. The “Journey” deserts were amazing. I wanted to try the new Share restaurant but the menu items did not sound very appealing. The lunch selections in the dining rooms were worth it if you can spare the time. I ate like a pig and best of all I did not gain any weight! I have been known to put on close to a pound a day. My secret; an hour of cardio per day plus stairs, breakfast of fruit and yogurt and a salad with every lunch. Otherwise I ate whatever I wanted and lots of it. Kids; since this was Spring Break time there were lots of kiddies. I enjoy them especially the toddlers but I talked to several people who seem to despise children. What a sad outlook. It seemed Princess tried to entertain them and had lots of activities but near the end of the cruise the teens had reverted into roving gangs. They were still polite with no bad language but were running, talking and having fun. It didn’t bother me but it did some people. Not because of what they did, just because they were visible. Room: we had an inside room near the back of the ship. Small but adequate even with two teens and two adults. It required some cooperation but we found room for everything. I would rather cruise twice in an inside room than once on a balcony. The shower had great pressure and temperature consistency. The biggest disappointment on the cruise was the bed arrangement. If the bunk beds were down the main beds on the floor could not be moved together to make a single bed. So the parents were forced to sleep in separate beds. The cabin steward explained that a few weeks earlier the upper beds were outfitted with a bracket to better secure the ladder hooks from sliding. These brackets could have been put at the ends of the beds but they were put in the sides so now the beds below could not be slid together. The steward refused to put the beds together. I don’t know if this change is just short sidedness or a plot to dissuade families on Princess but hopefully it is short lived. Ports: In Honolulu we met a friend who is local and she drove us around the island and showed us a lot of the typical tourist sites and some atypical ones. Kauai, we just walked to the Kalapaki beach in front of the Marriot. Easy ½ mile walk and a beautiful beach. If you get there early there are (what seem to be) some public chairs with umbrellas. My son rented a surf board ($20 for 3 hrs) and after that we walked around the resort then to the elevator at the far end of the beach by the bathrooms and rode it up. Then we walked south along a road in front of some Cliffside homes and down a trail to a lighthouse at Kukuii Point. We then hiked easterly along the coast/edge of golf course/rocks to some secluded beaches. It was an adventurous hike but fun. If we had more time we would have kept going to another lighthouse at Ninini Point. In Hilo we rented a car from Enterprise through Discount Hawaii Car Rental for $30 ($50 with tax). Just keep watching the website for a good deal to pop up. A shuttle picks you up in front of the ship but you have to be out right when they let people off or it gets messy waiting with upset crowds for another shuttle. You must have a car reservation to ride the shuttle. Then we drove to Volcanoes Park and hiked the Kilauea Iki trail loop (4 miles) my wife and daughter who are not hikers did fine. The jungle/volcanic wasteland contrast was amazing. Be sure to make the loop, it was worth the views. We also took in Rainbow falls. Maui, we rode the bus (ask locals for directions to stop) to Kaanapali resort area but it was close enough (3 miles) to walk. We snorkeled at Black Rock and saw three turtles. The beach there is too crowded and narrow. When you finish snorkeling walk back towards Lahaina (south) and the beaches get nicer and less crowded. Once past the resorts there is a decent state beach with lifeguards. We walked all the way back to Lahaina along the shore. It was mostly a paved walkway. The views were amazing and often you could see turtles feeding on the rocks. In Lahaina there are lots of signs for snorkel trips to Molikini for around $20. Leaving Maui we saw lots of whales at dusk. A baby fully breached multiple times. Bring binoculars! Four exciting excursions and didn’t have to pay much money to do it. Once again a great cruise! The method to always having a good experience is to not expect too much, be flexible, realize some things will go wrong, relax, and above all, enjoy. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We took the 10 day cruise starting March 14th, 2016. We flew in 3 days early, allowing for 2 days in Anaheim at Disneyland before the cruise began. This was the highlight for our 17 year old daughter, who has been wanting to visit the ... Read More
We took the 10 day cruise starting March 14th, 2016. We flew in 3 days early, allowing for 2 days in Anaheim at Disneyland before the cruise began. This was the highlight for our 17 year old daughter, who has been wanting to visit the magic kingdom for years. Well worth spending a few days prior to the cruise. Stayed in a nice hotel about a 10 minute drive from the parks. We used the private version of super shuttle to get from the airport to hotel, and from hotel to the port. Easy, cost effective and fast. Definitely nicer than shared shuttles and not much more expensive. Embarkation was a breeze. We arrived around noon and were onboard by 1:30. We have cruised 3 times with Princess recently, and my wife cruised with the a couple of times years ago before we got married. Recently we cruised on Emerald in the Caribbean and the Grand Princess on this exact itinerary. We were super excited about the cruise because we preferred the layout of the Emerald (and Ruby is exact duplicate) but loved the itinerary. So this was (hopefully) going to be the best of both worlds. We booked an inside cabin on Emerald deck. 10 days before the cruise my wife managed to convince them to upgrade us to a Balcony on the Riviera deck. Wow. I had no idea how much better cruising was with a balcony. Now I know. The ship is big, but doesn't feel crowded. Especially love how they break up the pool areas so they feel less huge, and we never had a problem finding lounge chairs to relax in. Every morning we ordered coffee from room service, and enjoyed a nice cup on the balcony before going to the dining room for breakfast. Breakfast in the dining room is excellent. Great service, great food. Love that you can order eggs benedict any day you wish, even though it only "appears" on the menu once or twice during the trip. Even had the wait construct a west coast eggs benny by taking the bagel & smoked salmon and combining it with poached eggs and hollandaise. Love the fact that they will bend over backwards to make food you want if you have a reasonable request. The beds. Oh my! Princess is in the process of changing out their mattresses and pillows... Ruby has been done already. The best mattress/pillow I've ever slept on in any cruise or hotel. Right up with the quality we've bought for ourselves. Great investment on their part. Our room steward was invisible and efficient. I love that combination. I only ever caught him once cleaning our room. But he did a great job and we had absolutely no complaints. The bars were good overall. The Crooners martini bar had okay service (was better on emerald and grand) but Vines wine bar more than made up for it. So we hung out there instead. We participated in a few activities, but not a ton. We prefer hanging out on deck catching the sun. As I mentioned earlier, we love the itinerary on this cruise. San Diego - we grabbed the public light rail transit and went up to a great mall and did some shopping. Picked up a dress for formal night for my wife at an exceptional price. Cabo - A lot of the snorkeling tours end up at one of two beaches along the coast of Cabo. We chose to grab a taxi and went there independently. Great beach, amazing snorkeling. Not much in terms of amenities yet but they are building hotels which I assume will have restaurants in the future. After snorkeling and suntanning we went into town and did some shopping and stopped at Cabo Wabo for margaritas. La Paz - We were going to hire a taxi to take us to the beach (tecolotes) a short drive in the opposite direction from town. But... the locals had arranged a free shuttle service between the ship and the beach (not sure who paid for it, but I'm guessing the restaurant at the beach) - all they asked for was tips. We gave the driver a great tip (since we had planned on hiring a taxi anyways) and the beach is fantastic, and the restaurant is also very nice and had some great food (and cold beer!) Loreto - we booked a private snorkeling tour to El Coronado island as the beach at the town itself is just okay. The tour was amazing. We lucked out and saw breeding manta rays, 3 orcas, and that was on a short detour before even heading to the island. There we saw sea lions, and the stopped at the beach where there is a great coral reef about a hundred feet offshore. Some of the best snorkeling ever. Nice authentic lunch and then back to town for a little shopping. Puerto Vallarta - Unfortunately our plans here were changed, as our daughter caught a stomach bug (Norovirus?) and we didn't want to go too far with her on the ship sick. So we just popped out to do a little souvenir shopping in the tacky tourist trap just off the ship. Dining - We did late seating (8pm) which is our preference. Our waiter was great, the assistant waiter was not as good, but the head waiter was actually quite attentive. Overall the service was very good, and the food was quite good for a cruise. We heard about the new "share" restaurant by Curtis Stone, and being foodies had to give it a try (first time we've ever paid for a premium restaurant onboard). The food was by far the best we've ever had on a cruise, and some of the best we've ever had period. Wow. If you like fine dining this is it. Because of some issues we had early in the cruise the Customer Service Manager comp'd us a meal at the Crown Grill. The food there.... good, even very good. If you like monstrous sized steaks. I had a bone in ribeye, which was indeed very tasty. I enjoyed it a lot, but wouldn't pay extra for it as the food in the main dining room was actually very comparable (except in size). We only ate in the horizon court once (shortly before getting norovirus?) Food there was okay. Well, the sushi was pretty good, the rest was okay. We went to the main shows at night. Typical cruise ship fair. Okay production shows. Comedians were mixed (one good, one okay). Fun for half an hour but nothing to write home about. went dancing at the nightclub a couple of times. Not super busy, but the DJ was happy to take requests so we put in quite a few and had a good time. After our daughter cause a bug on the third last day, I came down with it the second last, and my wife on the last day. So the trip ended on a bit of a downer, but Princess is quite thorough in their response. Disembarkation was again a breeze, and we took a city tour of LA, enroute to LAX for the flight home. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
This was my first cruise ever, and I am very glad that I chose to sail with Princess for my first cruise! This was the Ruby's first cruise from the West Coast after arriving from a long journey around South America from Ft. ... Read More
This was my first cruise ever, and I am very glad that I chose to sail with Princess for my first cruise! This was the Ruby's first cruise from the West Coast after arriving from a long journey around South America from Ft. Lauderdale. Our cruise visited: Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, and Cabo San Lucas. Embarkation: Was a bit crazy because this was a sold out a cruise and many people were taking this voyage for their Spring Break vacation! We arrived at the port around 12:30-45ish and were onboard around 1:30. Not too bad of a wait for the amount of people that were in the terminal. It was a bit disorganized and had to ask a couple employees on where to go and all that, but this was my first cruise so I was a bit confused! Once we got our room keys/cruise cards, we directly proceeded to the escalator to the gangway! I was super excited boarding the ship, and even got a bit emotional because of how happy I was, LOL! Getting onboard: Once we boarded the ship, we went directly to our room, dropped off some bags we had, and then went to explore, and holy cow the ship was HUGEEE to me! Wanted to familiarize myself. The ship was beautiful, and very clean, staff was always working hard everyday on maintenance. The cruise: After exploring for a little bit, it was time for muster drill! After that, it was sailway time, super exciting moment for me, since it was my first time on a cruise ship! We watched the ship sailway around 5 pm, and we were on our way to our first port of call: Puerto Vallarta, Mexico! Soon it was 5:30 and we went to get ready for our first dinner aboard the beautiful Ruby Princess. We had 5:45 traditional dining in the Botticielli dining room. We met our waiters Faye and Arip (best waiters ever, they were super friendly, attentive, and very hard workers! Miss them very much!) We were even lucky enough to have a table right by a window with a view of the wake, how cool was that! We watched many shows, which were all very great shows! The comedy show on the last night was hilarious! Enjoyed walking on the Promenade deck everyday, pools were always clean and heated.Workers work VERY HARD everyday, and are some of the greatest people I have met in my life! They love when you talk to them and ask them where they are from, they are just amazing people who deserve to be recognized more for all that they do! Ship was in great shape, and I enjoyed spending time in the Piazza as well. There was always lots to do everyday, and I also highly enjoyed watching movies under the stars! Ports: After two days at sea, we arrived to beautiful, sunny, and very warm, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico! We walked right off the ship and took a bus to El Malecon. Beautiful boardwalk, with some beautiful beaches. We highly enjoyed Puerto Vallarta, lots to do and it's a beautiful city! Mazatlan: Great city, was very warm as well! Some people felt a little bit scared to get off, but we felt completely safe in this town, LOTS of police patrol taking care of tourists, and they also have volunteers that speak perfect english to help out tourists on cruise ship days. I highly recommend taking a taxi, there are taxis everywhere. I recommend taking a taxi to the Golden Zone, it'll cost you around $10 USD to get to there from the cruise ship terminal. Lots to do in the Golden Zone and many of the folks from the ship head over there; very nice beaches and lots of restaurants. Just beware of all the locals trying to sell you things, luckily I speak Spanish, so I was able to tell them no thanks politely. They are everywhere trying to sell you stuff, so don't feel pressured to buy anything if you don't want to, many of them do sell things overpriced to tourists just to take advantage of you, so be careful! Cabo San Lucas: I LOVED Cabo! Beautiful place! We had an excursion which was a boat ride to Los Arcos. It was a glass bottom boat ride that we bought online (not from the ship) for $16 pp, which I thought was a great deal. They also took us to two beaches. The first was Pelican's beach, which was a BEAUTIFUL beach right by Los Arcos; the water was crystal clear with a perfect view of the cruise ships anchored off the bay. They also took us to another beach, which I believe is called Medano beach? Not too sure, but it was also very nice with very clear water. This tour was amazing, and we had a great tour guide who was very informative and spoke great English as well! Great tour, and would definitely do it again! I highly recommend doing some type of excursion here in Cabo, there are lots of them available here, other than that, there is not much to do on your own here, since it is a resort town with resorts everywhere! Food: the food was amazing, some people are very picky, including myself. I highly enjoyed every meal I had. You NEVER go hungry on a cruise, there is always great & delicious food available when you need it. Everything was delicious! Overall, this was simply an AMAZING cruise! I enjoyed every single minute of it! Met some amazing people onboard and would do this trip all over again in a heart beat! I highly recommend a cruise with Princess, they are an amazing cruise line that will satisfy everyone who sails! From the staff to the food and the ports, everything was amazing!! Best vacation ever!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Background: My husband and I have been married for 15 years, have no kids, and are 41. This is our 7th cruise, 2nd on Princess. We have been on 5 with RCCL and chose Princess for the itinerary since we had not been to Grand Turk yet. We ... Read More
Background: My husband and I have been married for 15 years, have no kids, and are 41. This is our 7th cruise, 2nd on Princess. We have been on 5 with RCCL and chose Princess for the itinerary since we had not been to Grand Turk yet. We were cruising with a total of 5 couples (no children). My in-laws, SIL and her husband, husband's uncle and his girlfriend, and the in-laws best friends. Age range is from 41-70. We have cruised with the same bunch of people 2-3 times before, but they have never been on Princess, only RCCL. The in-laws and SIL +hubby arrived in Florida before embarkation day, so they were already in town at a hotel. My husband and I were the only ones flying in that morning. Embarkation day Sunday March 3: We flew from Baltimore to FLL on Southwest with no issues, arriving in FLL around 10:30 am. We collected our luggage and took a taxi directly to the port. Taxi for 2 with tip included was $20. We arrived at the port around 11 am, dropped our luggage off with a porter ($20 tip for 4 bags) and proceeded into the terminal. Have your boarding pass document ready to show in order to get in the door. We were assigned a color coded number on a laminated card -- this is the boarding group we will be called with. We sent our carry-ons through the xray machine and waited in line to check in. Once we checked in, we grabbed a seat and watched for the rest of our group to make their way into the terminal to check in. Embark took about 1 hour to get on ship, around 12:30. Once they started calling colors, it went quickly. Go sit next to where they start calling colors so you can be ready -- it is the first big room, look to the left and that is where the entrance is for boarding. Once we were on the ship, we went to our room to check it out. We were in Riviera 334, our first balcony room. After booking, I read that rooms on this floor get a lot of noise from the Lido deck chairs scraping above. We did hear it some, but were not bothered by it and were usually awake in the morning around 7 am so it was not bad unless you like to sleep in late. The balcony is shaded at all times, which was fine with me. There is also no one looking down on you, since the floor of the Lido deck extends beyond your balcony edge, making it very private, as long as your neighbors are not home ? We will definitely get a balcony room again on future cruises, we felt it was worth the extra money. We slept with the door open every night and heard the waves as we drifted off to sleep. I also enjoyed taking a sunrise picture each morning from the room, and having breakfast and pre-dinner drinks on the balcony throughout the week. We also spotted a whale from the balcony one day and saw dolphins too, so it was cool for wildlife viewing and we loved watching the ship come into port from there too. We met our cabin steward Franky and I asked him for an egg crate topper for my side of the bed and gave him a $20 tip right away. He had it put on the bed before that evening and it made a big difference in the hardness of the bed. He was very good at keeping things clean/tidy throughout the week and was a nice person overall. Next thing I did was go to the Crown Grill to make a reservation for our party of 10 for Wed night at 7 pm. We found a staff member setting up in the Crown Grill and he took our reservation with no problem. Then it was off to lunch. Horizon Court was a nightmare - the area for getting the food was too small and generally people were milling around willy-nilly, or "bumbling" as I like to say. Skip Horizon Court and go to Cafe Caribe all the way in the back- the people flow was linear and more organized, much less crowded. You can also sit outside and have a nice view off the back of the ship. In both Horizon Court and Cafe Caribe, the staff set the tables with silverware and bring you drinks. Numerous times throughout the trip we had to sit at a dirty table and wait for a busboy to clear the dishes, and had to wait for drink service. At either end of the dining area you could also self-serve iced tea and water, tea and coffee, but if you wanted lemonade, you had to ask a waiter to get it for you. For breakfast in the Horizon Court, there were nice omlettes made to order daily. I also had fruit and tea, yogurt parfait, cottage cheese, etc. in an effort to eat healthier at breakfast. A small annoyance is that they serve the fresh fruit in large slices such as slices of watermelon and pineapple, not cut up into bite sized chunks. It would be nicer for the passengers if they could just scoop out bite sized pieces without having to dissect their fruit one it's on the plate. Minor and nit-picky, I know, but a convenience that I missed as I eat a lot of fruit for breakfast and lunch. One morning they had a Chocolate theme for breakfast and there were berries and choc fondue, choc chip pancakes, etc. Intl cafe on deck 5 had some nice breakfast sweets and could make egg sandwiches, so that is a quick easy stop. Also had nice dessert snacks - tried the macadamia brownie and the pb choc cup, both were excellent and not too big- just enough to satisfy the craving for chocolate. Muster drill was at 3:30pm and we were assigned to the Wheelhouse bar, so we grabbed our lifejackets and headed there. We listened to the drill, then everyone had to put on their life jacket and practice the motions of jumping off the ship in case we had to abandon the ship. That was a first for me! We had opted for 6 pm assigned dining in the Bottecelli dining room, so I checked our table and our group of 10 was accommodated. For dinner the first night I had red snapper mojito ceviche, shrimp cocktail, sea bass, and for dessert, the delicious Love Boat Dream (choc mousse on a brownie). All food was delicious. Prasad was our waiter and Maria was the asst waiter, table 118. We had excellent service, fun interactions and joking around, and Prasad made great food recommendations all week. He even steered me away from some things on the menu, which I appreciated, too. Monday: Our call at Princess Cays (Bahamas) was cancelled due to high winds and unsafe tendering conditions from the unusual cold front that came thru Fla earlier in the week. That was a bummer as I was hoping to check out the conch shells and graves down the beach to the far right, as I had read about on CC. I went to the gym and ran 2 miles on the treadmill -- the gym was busy around 7:30 am, seemed to die down around 9 am. We spent the day at the pool, and drank too much. I ate curried chickpeas and rice for late lunch at Cafe caribe, as it was Indian food theme. I barely made it to dinner due to the drinking by the pool, but I made it, thanks in large part to my husband's help. My dinner was a salad, pot roast, and hazelnut ice cream, all food was also excellent. We all went to sleep early since we were drained from the sun and drinking all day. Tuesday: Today was a scheduled sea day then formal night. Back to the gym for more treadmill. I attended the Cruise Critic Meet and Greet at 11 am in the Outrigger Bar overlooking the Terrace Pool at the back of the ship. CC meetup was attended by 10-13 ppl and we did a small gift exchange, which was fun. Spent the rest of the day by the terrace pool -- this is a nice area but there is not a lot of room for loungers, and we ended up laying out on the wooden stadium seating area, which is not the most comfortable place, but there were no available chairs. We did see a fair amount of chair hogging, with no one coming back to sit in the chairs for a long time, but we did not try to kick anyone out. The pool water was "refreshing", meaning chilly, but did feel good when you got too hot. The lunch theme at cafe caribe today was Mexican, and the food was awesome. I wished that was available all week. I made a huge salad and topped it with the homemade guacamole, and it was my favorite lunch of the week. Since it was formal night, we met our party in the Wheelhouse Bar at 5 for a formal happy hour. Everyone was nicely dressed. I actually saw more men wearing tuxedos on a ship than ever before. Dinner was very good, I had the barramundi as recommended by Prasad. We did not see any shows while on this cruise - my SIL did not seem impressed with the Stardust show she saw one night. We all went to the casino to do an informal slot pull at $10 per person, did not win, but it was fun anyway. Wed: St Maarten. We enjoyed watching the approach and docking from our balcony. We got into port 3 hours early so we got off the ship and took a cab to Grand Case to Octopus Divers, since that is what I had arranged for my hubby and I to do. The taxi was $25, less than I expected -- I had heard it was $40 from previous reviews. We gave a $5 tip. The taxi ride is up through some winding roads, and there are no stop signs or traffic lights, so there is a lot of horn honking and squeezing through some very narrow roads. Gasoline was approx $6 per gallon, so it's tough to be a taxi driver! I booked our dive in advance, online, based on the excellent reviews this company got on Tripadvisor. We met Jade at the dive shop, and since we had some time to burn, he recommended we walk over to Grand Case Beach Club, so we did go over and checked it out. Very pretty views, nice beach, there is a small cafe there on the water if you want to have breakfast before diving or lunch afterwards. At 10 am, we walked back towards the dive shop and up Grand Case Blvd to see what shops were open. Most places were cafes, restaurants, and lolos, and did not look very ritzy or swanky as I had expected from this being "the French side". We walked all the way to the roundabout, then walked back down on the beach. We stopped at Calmos Cafe for a lunch snack and a couple of beers. The location is very nice with beach loungers, shaded seating, and picnic tables right at the water's edge. We ate shrimp sate, calamari, and cod fritters, all from the tapas menu. All the food was good, although anything else was pretty pricey, and they did not give the 1 euro to 1 US dollar conversion that some others were offering, so we paid the normal exchange rate. After we were done, we walked back to Octopus Divers, got checked in, and walked over to the dive boat boarding area. There was a dog named Roger and we met our dive guides Jade and Dave. They fitted us for gear and we met the others who would be on the boat. There were 3 snorkelers, 2 new divers and 3 certified divers, including us. We set out on a very short ride to Creole Rock and did our first tank dive there, about 35-40 minutes bottom time. Jade was the guide for the certified divers for both tank dives. Lots of nice things to see especially on the back side of the Rock. The reef looked nice and healthy. I tried out my new underwater camera the first time and kept turning it off by accident, since the photo button is right next to the on/off button. I still managed to get some cool pics though. The camera's battery was used up before the second dive, and I was stressing out since the second dive was going to be at Turtle Reef. I desperately wanted to take pics of sea turtles, but as it turns out we didn't see any turtles there, so in the end it was OK that I didn't have the camera for the second dive. There were tons of Black Sea urchins, and lots of big blocky rocks that made for cool looking structure and everything was covered with life. We also saw 2 huge puffer type fish and barracudas. Lots of sea fans, soft corals, etc. I pointed out a huge sea cucumber about 2 ft long, brown with spots, to our guide. We also saw one small moray eel. All of the 3 Octopus Divers staff were excellent and had everything ready with our gear for the dives. Jade kept a good eye on us and showed us lots of neat stuff underwater. He also took 2 pics of us scuba diving using my camera on the first dive, which I have not had before, so I was really happy to have a picture of my husband and I scuba diving together. After the dives, it started to rain and we were cold as we got packed up and took a taxi back to the port. Again, taxi ride back to the port was $25 and a $5 tip. Took about 30 min but there was no traffic, just some steers (cows) in the road. When we got back to the port, some people were looking at a sheer rock face and taking pictures. I looked to see what they were looking at and saw some goats climbing around on this seemingly vertical slope, defying gravity up on the rocks, it was crazy to see! I didn't get a picture, but I have no idea how they could maneuver like that without falling right off. We looked around at the port shops but did not buy anything and got back on the ship. We stopped at the International Cafe Deck 5 for shrimp salad and a ham and cheese croissant. Both were good, but I would get the croissant toasted next time. The make paninis there, they looked yummy too. Dinner was our reservation at Crown Grill tonight. We arrived and were seated at a large table in an almost empty restaurant, which was suprising for 7 pm. The waiter brought plates of all the side dishes for us to share and he even brought out a platter of lobster tails for everyone to have with their steaks. Everything was delicious and perfectly cooked, no charge for all that lobster ( I had read previously it was an extra $9 for lobster, but that was not true for us), and was well worth the $25 cover charge. It did take around 2 hours though, and my husband is not fond of sitting and waiting between courses, so that was a downer for him. Everyone was overstuffed with food, so we ended up retiring early to sleep off the food coma. Thurs: St Thomas Whenever we go on a cruise, I usually pick one port and we do a private charter on a boat to get out on the water and swim, sun, snorkel, etc. So, this time we had a private day sail with Tribal (www.tribalvi.com) scheduled. I had researched this daysail provider online and conversed with him via email numerous times, and felt that based on the Tripadvisor reviews and my communications with him, that they would be a good fit for our group. It was my husband and I, my SIL and her husband, and their uncle and his girlfriend (6 passenger max). She had never snorkeled before, and I made sure to let the owner at Tribal know that beforehand. We met Matthias (owner) at the windmill as we had prearranged. We walked to a small commercial harbor about 10 min away to board the inflatable dinghy. We rode to the catamaran, which was moored off Water Island, and boarded. Matthias gave us the safety briefing, a tour of the vessel, and soon we got underway. We sailed around Water Island, past the ship, and out to Buck Island. We were offered drinks right away, the opportunity to drive the sailboat, and we enjoyed a leisurely sail to our snorkel location. When we arrived at Buck island, there were numerous boats there already, so we moored off to the right side and entered the water with our guide Travers. They helped bev adjust her mask and snorkel, and showed her how to maneuver in the water while using a couple of pool noodles as floatation devices. She took to it right away and was happily paddling along in no time. I had re-charged my camera battery overnight and had it with me during the snorkeling. We swam over the reef, Travers brought up some wildlife for us to see up close: a live conch, a conch shell with a huge hermit crab in it, and an anemone for us to hold. He put everything back carefully where he found it, and you can tell they have a lot of respect for the ocean creatures. He fed the fish with some crushed pretzels and a colorful swarm of fish came up to eat. We then swam over to the turtle area by the sea grass beds. We saw many wonderful turtles munching on sea grass, some even coming up for air close to us. I got some great pictures and this was the highlight of the cruise for me. We also saw a stingray and a barracuda. We spent quite a while in the water, probably almost an hour. We got back on board and had snacks and rum drinks, Carib beer, and water/sodas, as we soaked up the warm Caribbean sunshine. Travers was an excellent bartender and Matthias slowly steered us back towards Water Island under sail. Previously I figured we would get dropped off back at the port and go to Tickle's Pub for lunch, since it was a waterfront restaurant on a marina right next to the ship that god good reviews on Tripadvisor. Matthias suggested we be dropped off at Heidi's Honeymoon Barbeque for lunch, which is a quaint beach bar on a pristine slice of white sand ringed by palm trees on Water Island. We moored the Tribal in her berth, all piled in the dinghy and staked out a spot on the beautiful beach and went to the BBQ. The cheeseburgers there are HUGE, and come with a side of pasta salad. There are plenty of choices and a nice drink menu too. What a great recommendation that I never would have known about!! We spent some time bobbing in the turquoise waters and checking out the shells, then walked a short distance to the water taxi that would take us back to the port. We paid $5 per person and got on the 2:15 pm water taxi. We were back on the ship with an hour to spare, so we went to the pool for sail away. This was the second formal night and we were all getting a bit tired of 2 hour dinners (and being so full after each dinner), so we skipped Formal Night in the main dining room and tried the tapas and sushi at Vines. Both were delicious and a good appetizer. We went up to Cafe Caribe to see what they had and got a few things to round out our meal. Just enough food, and we were done eating in 10 minutes. Later we tried the gelato at the International Cafe- 3 scoops for $1.50. It was delicious! After dinner, we went to the Wheelhouse Bar, found some family members and talked for a while then went to bed. Friday: Grand Turk. We got to sleep in and do laundry since we didn't arrive at port until 1 pm. The laundry is a very nice thing to have available -- I wish other cruise lines had this. Went to the gym again and had a leisurely brunch, repainted my toenails, and we packed up some clothes we weren't going to wear the rest of the trip. Cleaned up the cabin a bit and packed the beach bag for the afternoon. We saw some dolphins and a humpback whale from the balcony, which was pretty cool. At 1:15 pm, we got off the ship quickly and headed through the main building, then turned left and walked down the beach to the Local Village beach bar. We were the first ones there, so we chose lounge chairs and had 2 umbrellas set up. As I knew from my research online, they supply free chairs and umbrellas if you are there to eat or drink, and we did both. We had the conch fritters and jerk chicken plate, both were good! We also had their island passionfruit rum drinks and they were divine. $5 for a small and $10 for a large. We brought some rum from off the ship and added floaters to our drinks, which made them extra yummy. They have a resident dog named Rufus, and he is obsessed with watching shadows on the ground. He is very friendly and as soon as we had an umbrella put up, he dug a hole in the sand under the umbrella and laid down in the hole. The water was a refreshing counterpoint to the sunny, warm day. We hung out there for a few hours, then moved to Margaritaville and the pool bar, then hit the port-area stores to shop for a few souvenirs. We got back on the ship around 6 pm, and ended up in Horizon Court for a late dinner. We tried the slot machines and won $80, so that was fun. A note of warning to others- my in-laws took a taxi to Cockburn town (not arranged through the ship), and instead were taken down the beach to an area set up with tents and the locals were setting up makeshift shops. The taxi driver tried to tell them this was the shopping area, which was a scam. They had to find someone else to take them to the real Cockburn town center, and they felt very upset that the taxi would take them somewhere they did not want to go. They wanted me to warn other people not to use the local taxis because of this. Saturday: This was our last full day, and it was a scheduled sea day. The captain altered our course home by adding 85 nautical miles to give us smoother seas, and the boat was calmer as a result. We have felt the ship moving each day, but it has not been bothersome. Went to the gym again this morning in an effort to stave off those lbs. Spent the day at the pool, then met the group for our final pre-dinner drink at the Wheelhouse Bar. We ate our last dinner as a group in the main dining room and food was tasty as always. Last Love Boat Dream of the trip... We had an after dinner drink and then said our goodbyes. We went to the casino and won an extra $50 on the slot machines which was fun. We promptly stopped by the Purser's desk to put it towards our bill. Sunday: Disembarkation day. I woke up at 0630 and watched us sail into Port Everglades, with 2 other ships in line behind us. The captain came on the loudspeaker and told us there were a bunch of people sick the night before (turned out to be norovirus) so the staff was serving everything to you at breakfast. I brought my breakfast back to the room and ate it on the balcony. We had to vacate the room by 8 am. We sat by the Explorers lounge with some family members until we needed to go to our assigned departure area, which was the casino at 10:10 am. While waiting in the casino, we heard about people passing out and vomiting while waiting to leave the ship. Many people needed wheelchairs to get off the ship, and the whole process was delayed by over an hour. We finally got off the ship around 10:30 am, found our luggage and stood in line for another hour to clear customs. The porter who was handling our luggage said people were coming off the elevators and puking on the floor, it was bad. My MIL started getting sick at the airport and ended up being hospitalized when she got home. No one else in our party got sick, but I heard of similar people having to go to the hospital for IV's. Not good, but at least it happened on the last day. Likes/Dislikes/Overall impressions (my personal opinion): - I found the overall ship layout confusing and sometimes frustrating. For example, on the Lido deck, you have to go through the Horizon Court dining area to get to the main pool or to the back of the ship. If you are barefoot and wearing your bathing suit, it feels improper to have to walk through the food area just to get to the pool. There were also numerous places where you could not get from one end of the ship to the other without having to go up or down a level, across for a while, then back up or down to the floor you wanted. There were also numerous stairways outside that led to a locked door and nothing else, and that didn't make sense. I definitely like the Royal Caribbean Promenade layout better. It is more like a normal "Main Street" which is intuitive to me. - The bathroom is tiny - shower is the smallest I have ever seen. I cannot imagine a larger person trying to shower in there at all. The shower curtain barely stayed in the shower and there is a very small area to put your shampoo/conditioner -- no separate soap dish or ledge in the shower. If you are a girl with "products", you will end up with half of them sitting on the floor of the shower. - Hanging space for clothes is big, but the only drawers available are in the nightstand and desk. Bring extra hangers if you like to hang all your clothes -- there are some provided. - Suitcases do fit under the bed, which is good. - The ship seemed smaller than it actually was -- there were waits for elevators frequently. - Laundry rooms have irons and ironing boards available for your use. - Professional 8x10 photos (from formal night) are $23.99 each FYI - The English style Pub Lunch (free) was available on both scheduled sea days but no one in our group participated. - You should really study the Princess Patter each day as there are not a lot of announcements on what is going on around the ship -- they really only announced the art auction and bingo. Everything else, you had to notice it in the Patter. - We bought 2 1-liter bottles of water at the airport and just refilled them throughout the cruise and kept them in our mini-fridge in the room. That was enough to drink when we needed water in the room, since the tap water in the bathroom never got very cold. - Bring a beer koozie if you drink the bottled Dos XX beer. Also bring a small bottle opener if you buy the buckets of beer (5 for the price of 4) since they only open one or two at a time, you won't have to look for a waiter to open your next beer. - Wear SPF 30 at a minimum, right from the first day -- do not underestimate the Caribbean sun. You will still get a tan with SPF 30, trust me. Peeling is not sexy. - Alcohol: No Capt Morgan (they substitute Bacardi Oakheart) or Bailey's (they use a different brand of irish cream that was so bad my FIL sent it back), No Corona or Landshark. They contract/promote Bacardi rums and serve Dos XX (green bottle, not amber). Only one beer on tap in most bars -- Stella Artois. Would have liked to see a better/varied selection of alcohol choices and more beers on tap. - We used the Rum Runner plastic flasks (www.rumrunners.com) to bring in 750 ml of coconut rum onboard in our checked luggage. Had no issues getting it aboard -- I highly recommend buying a few of these for cruises as they scan through the X-Ray very well and are not shaped like a bottle. You could always bring an extra, empty one and fill it with a bottle you buy at one of the island ports of call, and put it in your carryon when you get back on the ship. - Went to the purser's desk and got a hole punched in cruise card, then went to casino and got a bungee lanyard (free) to hang around the neck. Good for when you have clothes with no pockets, like a swimsuit cover-up or a dress. - As a Gold member of the Captain's Circle, the coupon book they gave was pretty lame. They gave everyone on the ship a reuseable logo tote bag. I did not make it to the Welcome Back past passengers party but they did have one before dinner one night. - All the crew members we came in contact with or even saw in the hallways, were very friendly and offered a cheerful greeting. - Overall, I enjoyed the cruise on Princess -- food was great everywhere we went, ship was elegantly decorated, itinerary was good, weather was good. - I think we are better suited to Royal Caribbean because the passenger demographic is a bit younger in my experience on RCCL (we are 41 with no kids) and I prefer the layout of their ships. - Generally speaking, I feel that both lines are comparable in terms of quality and value for the $ spent, and would recommend both lines. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
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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