After finding out that my husband planned to be out of town for the Mother's Day Weekend, I decided on a whim to book the very reasonably priced 1 day Pacific Coastal cruise from Vancouver to Seattle on the Ruby Princess. It would be ... Read More
After finding out that my husband planned to be out of town for the Mother's Day Weekend, I decided on a whim to book the very reasonably priced 1 day Pacific Coastal cruise from Vancouver to Seattle on the Ruby Princess. It would be a business trip, I thought to myself, because booking a cabin as a single would get me double credit towards becoming Elite on Princess. What a great idea!
Because I had never cruised out of Vancouver, into Seattle, or on a 1 day cruise, I didn't know what to expect and it actually did turn out to be quite a lot of work. So yes, a business trip.I was able to book Aeroplan points at a discount for a flight from Seattle back to Vancouver, so I wasn't out of pocket for the return trip.
I was very fortunate that I had not 1, but 2 different friends offer to drive me to the cruise port at Canada Place. I would have been happy with being dropped off at the Canada Line Skytrain station, but my friend insisted on driving me directly to the port. What chaos in the surrounding area. 9000 passengers disembarking and 9000 more ( 3 ships in port that day) embarking, construction in the surrounding area, and many tourists in the area made for slow going. I eventually got to the place where passengers without checked bags could go down the stairway to enter the check in area, only to be stopped by a security guard who insisted that Princess would not allow passengers to enter the area until 1pm. That left those of us unfamiliar with the procedure to stand outside in the broiling sun, potentially for hours. After walking around for 20 minutes, I realized that if his directive were true, there would be hundreds of people standing around waiting to enter, and there weren't. I decided to follow the many passengers with baggage who were using a different entrance, down a ramp. Surprise, surprise. I walked right up to the security area and Princess check in, and was on board in 15 minutes.
The Ruby Princess is very much like the Diamond Princess, which I have been on several times. After boarding, knowing that the cabins would not be available for 2 more hours, I went directly to the Lotus pool, and to the only shade on deck at the time. I saw people lining up in the hallways, waiting to be allowed to their cabins, but it seemed a bit of a waste of time. I spent some time catching up on emails etc., got a great burger from the Salty Dog grill on deck, and a Long Island Ice Tea from the Tradewinds bar to help use up some of my on board credit.
I should mention that even on this 1 day cruise, I was able to get 50 USD shareholder credit, and 25 USD travel agent credit. I wanted to use some of the OBC to pay for a transfer to Seattle airport upon arrival, and asked the travel agency to contact Princess to find out it they were selling transfers on board. I was assured they were, but of course when I stopped by Customer Services, they told me no, no transfers, end of story. I worried the whole time about how I would get to the airport, how expensive a taxi would be etc. Fortunately, when I exited customs in Seattle, there was a booth selling transfers. Problem solved, but it would have been nice if Princess had provided that information.
I headed to my cabin at 1 pm. I had booked an inside guarantee and was given an obstructed ocean view. It was a very nice, large cabin on Emerald Deck. I discovered I had been given a free drink coupon, so I decided to use it at sailaway.
Next up was the muster drill. The time in the Patter said muster drill at 415. No, they called passengers to the drill at 345. At least it didn't last too long.
I wanted to check in for my flight back from Seattle to Vancouver the next day, so I checked out the Internet centre. I was able to log in with no problem, using my free Platinum minutes. No cost to print the boarding card. Great, one less concern for the next day.
I headed up on deck to the Tradewinds Bar to use my free drink coupon. Along with everyone else on the ship. The bars were packed. I waited a good half hour for my free drink, along with many other people. Anyway, the location at Canada Place is stunning, and the sailaway under the Lions Gate Bridge is spectacular. It was great to hear everyone cheer as the ship seemed to just make it under the bridge.
The ship was sold out, and it showed at the fast food venues on deck and in the buffet. Patience was a virtue for sure, with no signage pointing out where to order and where to pick up food. Everyone was asking which line was for what, and where the start and end were.
I can't say I really enjoyed any of the food I tried, other than the burger from Salty Dog grill and a piece of flourless chocolate cake from the buffet, which was to die for.
I watched the comedian, Carlos ? in one of the lounges, and he was very funny, a real audience pleaser. I did a lot of walking on deck, admiring the stunning views and sunset. Back in the cabin, I enjoyed the wine I brought on board and watched some movies on the awesome widescreen tv. Great selection of on demand movies - I watched Crazy Rich Asians (again!) and First Man.
At 1 am, unable to sleep, I headed down to Customer Services to get my refundable on board credit refunded. Under 25.00 is refundable in cash, so I thought I would beat the morning rush. I have never had on board credit before, this was a first for me. I used up the nonrefundable shareholder credit with 1 Long Island ice tea (11.80,) 1 nights gratuity (13.50) and mascara from the on board shop (25.00.) That left me with 24.70 refundable credit, which was refunded to me in cash.
There was really no information given about disembarkation except a card in my stateroom telling me to wait until 955 to walk off. Knowing that I had a noon flight home, and American customs to clear, I obviously ignored that. An announcement was finally made in the morning announcing disembarkation, forward and midship. Except crew were telling everyone it was only forward. And in fact, it was forward and aft. No signage whatsoever, I'm sure every single passenger had to ask where to go to find the gangway.
Anyway, I was able to pay for a transfer, as it turned out, after going through the very, very, very long customs line. I was on the bus and on my way to the airport in short order. The shuttle cost 29 USD, but I'm sure a taxi would have cost a lot more as it was a long drive.
Unrelated to the cruise, on my flight home, on a small aircraft with very little personal space, the man sitting next to me seemed to feel he had paid for 2 seats, not just 1. His right knee and elbow spent the whole (20 minute) flight firmly in my space. Even a gentle hint that I was trying my best to give him room went unheeded. I would really prefer not to be cozied up to a stranger, but he couldn't have cared less.
Would I do another 1 day cruise like this? I'm not sure. It really did seem like work, at least for someone travelling solo Read Less