Princess Cruises Ruby Princess
This was a 3 day cruise from Thursday to Sunday from Port Everglades. Princess normally does not schedule sailings this short but we were told that the 3 day mini-voyage was in lieu of a planned wet-dock for the ship. This was the second of two consecutive 3 day cruises.
My wife and I were on our 10th Princess cruise and we were accompanied by a couple who was on their first Princess cruise. Embarkation was easy and we were on the ship by 11:45 a.m. We were able to go directly to our cabin as soon as we boarded.
The ship was supposed to have 1 day at sea and 1 day at Princess Cay. Due to windy conditions, the stop at Princess Cay was scratched and we enjoyed an extra day at sea. The captain announced at 8:00 a.m. throughout the ship that he had tried to find another port of call but Nassau, Freeport and Key West were full.
The ship was beautiful and in excellent condition. It was decorated for the holidays but in a very muted and tasteful way. The focal point of the ship is the 3 deck atrium in the middle (decks 5,6 and 7) including 2 glass elevators. Many events including street performers took place here.
My wife and I were in an AB category mini-suite on the starboard side of the ship on deck 9. Our friends had a balcony cabin one flight up all the way in the front of the ship (this was not a problem according to them even though we hit some 6-8 foot seas). Our room had plenty of storage space for a 10 day cruise let alone a 3 day cruise. The bathroom was quite roomy and included a shower/tub. A little more storage space in the bathroom would have been nice as would a little more headroom in the shower (I am 6'1). Our room included 2 televisions, a 3 person sofa, a chair and a refrigerator. The balcony had 2 chairs, 2 reclining chairs (not loungers) and a small table. Our balcony was not covered at all. The mini-suite included a welcome aboard glass of champagne upon embarkation. Our cabin steward was excellent and Princess still leaves a chocolate on your pillow at night. Our friends who had the room with balcony had a bigger balcony that was partially covered and a shower only (no tub) with more headroom.
We had any time dining which was a first for my wife and me. We usually arrived at 5:45 for dinner (dining room opened at 5:30)and had no problem getting a table for four each meal. Despite having different servers each night, the service was excellent. The food was excellent but the choices more limited then I would have expected. The buffet was nice and we had lunch there each day. Be sure to check out the back buffet as they served themed lunch buffets on the days at sea. On our cruise, one lunch buffet was Mexican and one was German. The Mexican food was especially good. Many of the dishes at the back buffet were not on the 2 normal buffets. We did not try the specialty eateries (Italian and Chophouse). Our friends went to the Wheelhouse Bar one day for the British lunch. They both had fish and chips and enjoyed it. We did not order room service. As always, the pizza at the pizzeria was wonderful. At the pizzeria, they also had free soft serve ice cream. The International Café looked wonderful but we did not get a chance to stop by on such a short cruise. Our friend enjoyed the sandwiches and pastries from the International Café. They sold gelato for only $1.50 but never got around to getting any. Our entire party enjoyed the Vines Wine Bar where we had sushi and cheese and crackers before dinner one night. The food was free but you had to buy wine to get the free food. Wine flights were only offered after 6:00 p.m. Our friends bought the coffee card (two for one with a coupon from the Princess coupon book) but were unable to use up all of the punches on the card. They sold soda cards but we did not purchase any.
The entertainment was above average. The show "Once Upon a Dream" was incredible. DO NOT MISS IT. The comedian was good. We skipped the juggler/illusionist on the last night. The rock/pop band and the alleged dixieland band were poor. The two pianists on board were great. We enjoyed the champagne waterfall in the Piazza where they served free hors d’oeuvres including caviar and champagne by the glassful. We are not gamblers but we thought the casino was very large but too smoky.
The perfume shop on board was very large and had an excellent selection. If you spent over $150, you got an extra 10% off. One of our friends attended both art auctions and had a lot of fun sipping free champagne and learning about art. She even won a free painting io the raffle but had to spend $20 to ship it home.
The gym was roomy and well kept. Towels were plentiful and there were enough exercise machines for all. On the first day at sea, my wife and I purchased an all day pass for the Thermal suite for $15 each. We used it 3 times that day and enjoyed it thoroughly. The room can comfortably accommodate about 12-15 people at a time. Only once did we find the room too crowded to enjoy. We thought the staff should have checked up on this room more often as dirty towels piled up on occasion. My wife had a reflexology treatment for $119 plus tip and enjoyed it.
We chose walk off for disembarkation. We were group 7 and were off the ship by 7:45 a.m.. Since we did not stop at any ports, we did not have to go through customs. As usual, we thoroughly enjoyed this short cruise and would strongly consider another short Princess cruise if offered. Our friends also thoroughly enjoyed this cruise and gave it rave reviews. All of us wanted to stay on for the 10 day cruise that was about to start.