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Ruby Princess (Dec 2013)

Ruby Princess


Ruby Princess


4-Night Bahamas
12/24/2013: Ft Lauderdale, Florida
12/25/2013: Sea Day
12/26/2013: Princess Cays, Bahamas
12/27/2013: Sea Day
12/28/2013: Ft Lauderdale, Florida


"Christmas at Sea"

First off we want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. We decided to end our year off with a cruise. It was kinda a last minute thing. The cruise was a gift from me (Patrick) to my wife (Christine) for Christmas. Since she is always getting me cruises for my birthday I had to return the giving. We had a few options, Holland America, Royal Caribbean & Princess. Sizes ranging from 100,000 to 150,000 ton. Okay enough rambling on and on there is plenty more of that to come.

In the end we decided to go with the Ruby Princess. We wanted to try a new line out and this was a great choice. For the year total we have been on 6 cruises and on 5 different lines (Carnival, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity & Norwegian). Like I was telling my wife the other day it's not that each line is different it is that each ship is different. For example on Carnival we have had times that we absolutely loved it, from service to dining to shows and go to another ship and all of the above was totally different. Take for instance the Carnival Breeze, the first time around it was jammed packed with things to do, food was great, service was great and shows were amazing. Now the second time around it was totally different. Yes the shows were the same but the singers and dancers were all new and they did not make it as enjoyable as our past time on the Breeze.

 On every cruise we get asked by people what is your secret for getting great deals. Well, here it is...NOTHING! We don't use a TA (Travel Agent) or a PVP (Personal Vacation Planner), we simply do it ourselves. We usually start off on a website like Cruises.com or something that I can put where and when I want to go and start from there. Once we find a decent deal we will go on the cruise lines webpage and see if we can get a better deal. Also by living near two major cruise ports it just makes it easy. The time of year we noticed that is best is between October to March. Also  even sometimes last minutes deals can be at great discounts as well, especially in that time frame. Simple as that...

Once I booked I contacted Princess' media/marketing department about us being bloggers and coming on the ship. On Carnival Victory, we contacted the same department, they really took great care of us, everything from VIP Check-In all the way to champagne and wine at the dining room every night, and fruit baskets and food trays in our stateroom every night. Princess on the other hand did nothing to enhance our cruise, we booked were shocked. Hoped the entire time for something in our room or a bottle of something. They ensured that the ship knew about us coming. Either way whatever, no big deal. 


Also before going we had to setup the onboard account before being able to print out the boarding passes. They (Princess) said you must do $300 per person, not matter the length of the voyage. Here's the thing, what you read and see online may be totally different from what is actually onboard. For example the Wheelhouse Bar was supposed to have lunch everyday, they had it once. Also the Cafe Caribe was supposed to be open longer then they were. Also in the dining room, you were supposed to be dressed up every night, not suit and tie but pants. Just all the don't's were actually allowed. The best thing to do is YouTube some videos and check it out and get a feel for things.


Port day for me (Patrick) personally is one of the longest and annoying days for the most part, with also the disembarkation morning being the other. It is just a long day with waiting to get on, then once on lugging around stuff, which in this case we were able to just drop it all off. However just getting to the point of the Muster Drill then fighting with everyone to get to your next location afterwards and up to the deck sailaway party. It is just a lot of this and that all day long.


We live about 30 minutes from the port, so getting there was very easy to do. We got to the port at 10am and the actual terminal did not open until about 10:45am. So we stood outside until then. Not sure why most of the terminals in the port are giant warehouses, which is not eye appealing at all. So after the long process of waiting and being treated like cattle we finally boarded the ship at around 12:30 or so. Once onboard we went to our room, which was already open to go to. Then off to the buffet for lunch, which was not impressive at all. Afterwards we walked around the ship and were just both blown away with the amazing decor of the ship. Most of the areas on the Ruby Princess had a consistent look to each room. Finally after our normal afternoon nap we headed to our Muster Station (A) in the Princess Theater. Here we have our first HATE of the ship. I will get into this later on in the tour.


We did find a very nice and relaxing area onboard, the Speakeasy Cigar Lounge. It is steps away from the Piazza and the Gatsby Casino. We found ourselves here a majority of the time either having a quick smoke, or just hanging out playing checkers or cards. Just very relaxing and a great way to stay out of the evil casino!

Before going on Princess we would always see and hear about the comparison between them and Carnival. Most people saying that Princess was a step above across the board. We however did not get that felling at all. Some yes were better in areas, and some not so much. The food on Princess was the worst by far. The production shows were nothing really to write home about, not impressed at all. On the flip side of things the variety acts, magic and comedy were both great. Honestly each ship will bring it's own to the table, and you may like something better then the others. Just depends on that moment in time. We will for sure return to Princess Cruises, we did love many parts and realized a lot of what we like and dislike on this cruise. With the Royal Princess already here and sister ship Regal Princess coming in 2014 we will see which one of the two we sail on next.




Pros
- International Cafe was a great place for a quick snack.
- Piazza held many events including the variety acts and comedy.
- Speakeasy Cigar Lounge is nice and relaxing also spent hours upon hours here.
- The staff was very friendly, first time Guest Services was so happy and friendly which may been because of the holiday's.
- Princess Cays was the best private island that we have been to, tons of things to see and do also very active. Took a lifeboat tender which was a first for us but normal for that line with tenders designed for just that.
- The decor on this ship was very elegant and brightly colored. Also the Christmas decor was very beautiful.
- Our cruise director was pretty good, he was everywhere with all the activities onboard, also with the singing and dancing.
- The Galley tour was great, they took about 500 of us (if not more) through the galley after the cooking demo.
- Stateroom (12253) was an interior and was very spacious, a large closet, only complaint is the odd storage areas, not located easily.
- The ship was very clean, more like the staff did not want you to touch anything at all. Most doors opened automatically and at the buffet, the cups and silverware were already on each table. Also they would come by with drinks. Nice at times.
- Guest Services had a very nice and attentive team.
- On Dress to Impress night they did it very nicely. The Captain gave a speech and introduced several high up ranking members of the vessel. Really nice touch to the special night.


Cons
- Princess Theater, just very small and seats were too small.
- Production shows were not enjoyable at all, we had one on the first night and the second on the last with Christmas show, all were decent and nothing over the top.
- Movie Under the Stars showed nothing but football and concerts, not one movie at night nor any Christmas movies there or in the cabin television.
- Did not like that the dining room was not personalized at all, they never took our name and service was pretty bad.
- Food was nothing to desire over, both in the dining room and the buffet. Often times the buffet had the better options. Some days we were in shock at seeing the sandwiches in the buffet with plastic wrap. Reading online the options looked 10 times better then what we saw and had.
- Formal night we did not get lobster offered to us, which was a huge disappointment. Also no options for steak on most nights.
- No towel animals in the stateroom.
- Crew members seemed overworked. We seen them in other cruises around here and there, but this cruise they were around day and night. Not sure if they do long runs of work on short cruises and part on the next cruise.
- Having to pay for items such as chocolate milk and hot chocolate were both very disappointing. Mostly because a majority of our cruises it was always free. No worries, from now on we will bring a variety pack of hot chocolate and a large container of chocolate syrup.





Adagio Bar
Did not get a chance to hang out here too much, but it seemed like a very nice place to be at night or during the day for some quiet time. Should have came here vs the Speakeasy Cigar Lounge, just to beat the harsh cigar smoke.









 Calypso Reef & Pool (Movie Under the Stars)

This was a place which we were hoping to get a lot of use out of, however it was the complete opposite. We got on Sunday so between that and Monday football was what took over. I can understand Sunday afternoon, but not all day and night. If it wasn't football the other choice was concerts. I thought the concept of this place was "MOVIE Under the Stars" Just a HUGE disappointment. Also Chrismtas not one movie played here or in the staterooms with Christmas movies like promised. We were hoping on Christmas night that the Miami Heat game would be on, but NOPE! Keep in mind there is no sports bar onboard, which is common sometimes. Figured since football was a hit maybe one game of basketball wouldn't be too much to ask for. Here is a list for the movies/concerts/games that were played here;

Embarkment (Day One)
12:00pm - Concert: Lionel Richie - Live in Paris
1:00pm - Concert: U2 Vertigo
2:00pm - Concert: Bon Jovi - Live in Chicago
3:00pm - Beyonce - Live from Wembley
4:25pm - NFL Sunday: New England Patriots vs Baltimore Ravens
5:00pm - Concert: Pink - Funhouse
8:15pm - NFL Sunday Chicago Bears vs Philadelphia Eagles

Sea Day (Day Two)
10:00am - Movie: Back to the Future
2:00pm - Concert: Take That - Live from Wembley
3:00pm - Movie: Hitch
5:00pm - Concert: James Brown - Live from Berlin
8:25pm - NFL Monday: San Francisco 49ers vs Atlanta Falcons

Princess Cays (Day Three)
10:00am - Movie: Princess Bride
2:00pm - Concert: Stevie Wonder - Live at Last
3:00pm - Movie: Fever Pitch
5:00pm - Concert: Billy Joel - Live at Shea Stadium
8:00pm - Concert: Beyonce - Live from Wembley
9:00pm - Take That - Live at Wembley
10:00pm - Concert: Pink - Funhouse
11:00pm - Concert: U2 Vertigo

Sea Day (Day Four)
10:00am - Movie: Big
2:00pm - Concert: George Michael - Live in London
3:00pm - Movie: Mr. & Mrs. Smith
5:00pm - Kinect@Sea: Just Dance
7:30pm & 10:30pm - Movie: Now You See Me








Children’s Area
Here are a few shots from the kids area on the ship. The areas for kids are broken up into the following age groups;

Princess Pelicans (Ages 3 - 7)
Shockwaves (Ages 8 - 12)
Remix (Ages 13 - 17)








Chill Out Pool
Right near the Children’s area of the ship. Never saw too many people hanging out here. Also a few steps from the Horizon Terrace.







Club Fusion
Great place to come and hang out. Lots of “gameshow” style games were played here throughout the cruise. Plenty of room for everyone, even if you wanted to just sit around. Loved the look of this room.

(One gameshow was Passenger Fued, which is like family fued.)







Conference Center 
Here are a few shots from the Conference Center.






Crooners Lounge & Bar
The picture on the wall here was amazing, kinda wish we had one in our home. Never hung out here, but it was just another bar onboard the Ruby Princess.



(This looks so much better in person.)






Crown Grill
The steakhouse onboard the Ruby Princess also played host to daily games and quiet time. Never heard much feedback from this place.








Escapes Travel Cafe & Future Cruise Sales
Check out the Princess Patter for times.






Explorers Lounge
Here is played host to the art auction, which was just about everyday. Come by and check it out, lots of great pictures and the action is here. They also have a bar to keep yourself feeling good after hearing what people are actually paying for these paintings and pictures.



 



Galley Tour
After the cooking demo we took a tour of the galley. It was something that we loved and kinda brought back memories for me (Patrick) from having worked in places just like this in the past. It was spotless here, which is a must in any kitchen. No facts or anything was given but a tour, however you could ask the chef questions at the end of it. Also no food tasting, if anyone was wondering.










Gatsby’s Casino & Bar
Unique design to this casino, really liked it a lot. Probably spent the least amount of money here then any other cruise. No one that we heard of really popped with anything here. 








Hearts & Minds Wedding Chapel
Early mass was held here.






Horizon Court & Cafe Caribe
The Horizon Court & Cafe Caribe are steps away from each other. However online shows something totally different from what we had. The food was at times better then the dining room, however other times not so much appealing with sandwiches in plastic wrap. Reminds me of my days in school. Lots of area to sit and relax. An easy walk to the pool areas on both sides. Like I mentioned above, the staff placed out silverware, plated & cups on each table. They do not really want you to touch anything. This was a first for us, not sure if we enjoyed it. I like getting my own drinks sometimes. Other times it was nice.







International Cafe
This place is open 24 hours a day, great place to come and have a snack. Decent variety of pastries and sandwiches. Those are free, however ice cream does have a small charge to it. Make sure to make your way here at one point or another. Located in the Piazza. 








Laundry Room
Since we always have someone who asks, here is the Laundry Room on the Ruby Princess (one of the many).








Lotus Spa & Pool Area / The Sanctuary
The pool area is a decent size on this ship. Here is no difference, the pool is large and never too crowded. Very quiet and close to the Sanctuary (which is a charge). The hours for the spa are usually from 7am to 10pm. The gym we noticed is a bit bigger then other ships we have been on so far. We wanted to take pictures in the Sanctuary, however we were denied and not allowed until dark after it closes. Or I could have paid. No way I am doing that just to take pictures, your loss.









Main Dining Rooms (Michelangelo, Botticelli & Da Vinci)

Our dining room was in the Michelangelo Dining Room. We had anytime dining which is opened nightly around 5:30pm. Did not care for the food options at all, nor the service on most nights and breakfast. We sat with people here and there just to break it up a bit and see who we would meet. I did see my future self on morning at breakfast. The man loved having his chocolate milk just like me, so much so he put it on his cereal. Back to the food....BLAH!!! Between the raw steak and ice cold eggs we left hungry just about every meal. Also for you bread lovers out there, it was hard as a rock and seemed like it was a day or two old, much like some of the food. Buffet at points had better options. One more "beef" I have with their dining is where is the "beef" options here? Nightly they offered steak medallions, which sucked! I want a flat iron or NY Strip, like every other menu on every other line. Much like the shows onboard something was missing, the lobster. Formal night we were always offered lobster, here not even on the menu. Such a let down. This was also the first cruise that the dining room did not take our cabin or name, did not become personal at all. Many other guests also felt the same way and all agreed that the food was not that good and lobster not on the menu was a let down.











Mermaids Tail
More bars from around the Ruby Princess.






Neptune's Reef & Pool
Pools again were much bigger then other lines we been on. Also never felt too cramped.








Onboard Shops (Essence, Meridian Bay & Calypso Cove)
Shops onboard were not too much to brag about. The selection of cigarettes and liquor were small compared to other lines.





Outrigger Bar
Not really sure what was up with the Mexican flags all over the place, really did not go with anything around it. Mostly a quiet bar with a few people here and there. It is located a few decks above the Horizon Terrace pool area.




The Piazza
Where can I start? Well this played host to a LARGE number of events. Everything from the Noel Vocal Quartet to the Gingerbread house making contest. Also something going on day and night. More acts included comedy and magic. If you're looking to catch a show make sure to grab your spot early, spots and seats fill up rather quickly and tend to be filled throughout the different events. Three decks of people all around watching. On the newer ships (Royal & Regal Princess) the Piazza is much larger, and it is needed. Even though the size is large, the trees and decor make it more cramped up Santa payed a visit to the children onboard handing out gifts. Below I have pictures of Jim Maltman and Ben Seidman, both being the top highlights of this cruise. Another great highlight was the Christmas Carols with the Officers & Crew, really fun seeing them all take part in the singing.















Pizza & Ice Cream Bar
Pizza sucked, moving on! Okay the appearance of the overall pizza is larger and more impressive, however the flavor was just not there. Real shame too. Ice cream is free here, but there is a charge for candy.






Platinum Studio
Guessing this was the picture studio onboard. Never saw a soul in
this place ever. Looked like they had some nice props though. 





Port Everglades
The warehouse is large and seats everywhere. I would have hated being at a higher level and being placed here like a box in a warehouse. The seated people somehow, no rhyme or reason. If you tried to move your seat the little lady would be yelling at you to go back to your area. HATE things like that. We are all going to the same place, come on already! Also those fans are HUGE! I looked up and almost crapped myself, got scared. It had to be about 15 feet wide. I also included pictures of the sailaway. Also tried getting pictures of the world's largest ship (by about 4 inches), the Allure of the Seas. Which the more and more we look at it they more and more we want to book it.











Princess Cays
We took a lifeboat tender here. Which was a first for us, but common for Princess. Once at the island you get to the map (below), so much to do here. Also a pool for kids is available. Most active private island we have been to, also tons of people all around, which made us think no one was still onboard. That was not true, still a ton of people on the ship when we returned. Back to the island, it was just beautiful and so clean. Someone in a red suit came and visited us. Did not stay for lunch since it was the exact same items as on the ship. The best island by far.












Princess Fine Arts Gallery
Art was seen all throughout the ship and a lot different then other ships. Here are a few that we enjoyed.







Princess Links & Center Court
Located at the highest part of the ship where you can also get a breathtaking view. Be careful because this area can get extremely windy. The golf course is nothing impressive, very basic. Same with basketball court.







Princess Theater
Worst theater ever! The designer did not plan this one out to well I can assure you that. There are two levels, but not really. The 
pictures kinda explain it. The entire seating was meant to be more 
close and intimate, well they nailed that one! Some rows had very 
little room in front of them. I will put it to you this way, an airplane seat had more room then these. Also don’t expect rows of sofa style seats, these were all individual seats making you feel extra snug to that stranger next to you hogging up the arm rest, which also holds a table. Okay I am not the smallest person in the world but that 
table is pointless to me. We tried taking the end seats whenever 
possible, but of course people couldn't make up their mind and keep annoying us to move. Okay, moving on to the two production shows, Colors of the World & Broadway Ballroom. Not impressed by 
either, singers and dancers were all off key and not sync with one 
another. I’m not Simon Cowell, but even I can tell when you can’t 
sing. Some voices didn’t even make it past the first few rows.
 Costumes did not make any sense to the shows being played, 
seemed very basic with floor length gowns. Have to admit Princess did a amazing job with the backdrops and lighting effects. Other
 events here included the culinary demonstration, comedy of Phil 
Tag and the magic of Ben Seidman. Midnight mass was conducted here on Christmas Eve along with a Christmas night now, which 
was great. Just want to back up a bit back to the cooking demo. It 
was conducted by Executive Chef Paolo Merio & Maitre D’Hotel Nicola Furlan. Both together were super funny and can have a 
show together on the Food Network any day. After the demo
 everyone in the theater got a tour down to the galley. It was a very unique experience and enjoyed every minute of it.   















Promenade Deck (Outside)
The best place for a view of the ocean and a relaxing place to read a good book. Since we don’t read we came here to look at the
 ocean and enjoy it.








Ruby Princess Ship Photos
The ship is a bit larger then most other ships we been on. I believe it is the 2nd largest for us. Carnival Breeze taking the number one spot. The ship was one of the most nicest decor ones we have been on.












Skywalkers Nightclub
We are not ones for being up past a late hour of the night, 
especially on a cruise, since we enjoy the bed and the comfort of 
that. However out of all the nightclubs we been to on ships this was the most unique and most eye appealing. It is in a bridge of it’s 
own, other ships in the fleet have it isolated from the entire ship. 
Day time it is very quiet and a great view, night time the fog 
thickens up and the party starts.








Speakeasy Cigar Lounge
Trying to figure out if spending most of our time here was a good 
thing or a bad thing. Since being back Christine did get traces of
 Pneumonia, which sometimes is caused by smoke. Day and night 
this place was filled with smoke. However we did enjoy a cigar at 
points, also a great place near everything to enjoy sports on the 
television or play checkers. Next time we will try to stay out of 
here, or any cigar lounge and head over to a more less smokey area. Other than that this area is a smoker friendly place
 and a perfect addition to any cruise. 








Stateroom 12235 (Aloha Deck 12)
The stateroom was nice and actually decent size for an interior. Setup was nice, with a large closet and a very comfortable bed. Bathroom did lack storage space, as well as drawers for socks, under ware and other small items.
















Terrace Pool (Horizon Terrace)
Never saw too many people in this area or the pool. This is the
 smaller of the other pools onboard, however the other pools were
 the biggest we ever had in the past. It was a great area to hangout
 on the upside. Downside it was raining most of the time.






Tradewinds Bar
Here are some photos of the Tradewinds Bar on the Ruby Princess.









Vines Bar
Here are some pictures of the wine bar. It is located near the the
 Piazza. They also have a small food menu and it is complimentary when you get wine.







Wheelhouse Bar
We read all over that this place was open for lunch everyday, we
 got a chance to eat here the one and only day it was open. There 
are five options (including one dessert), we ordered the other four
 items. This place gets packed quick and the staff is great at getting everyone in and out quickly. It is very laid back here, lots of food
 and lots of brews. Fish and Chips were really good. 










3 comments:

  1. Wow! What an amazing review! We were actually looking at taking this ship this year for our anniversary. You may have just sold me on taking it. Thank you guys!

    Raymond from Ocala, FL

    ReplyDelete
  2. great review, very comprehensive! i was actually on this cruise, my first princess also, having only gone on royal caribbean 6 times, and was i impressed with just about everything.

    billy from ft lauderdale

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi,
    Thanks for the great review. We're going on the Ruby Princess to Alaska for 8 days next month and it looks fabulous!! TYTY!!
    Jennifer from Royal Oak, MI

    ReplyDelete