Overall Rating: Excellent
|Destination:||Caribbean - Eastern|
|Departed From:||Ft. Lauderdale, Fl|
|# of Nights:||7 Nights|
On October 31st, we sailed on the Ruby Princess to Princess Cay - St. Maarten - St. Thomas and Grand Turk. This was our first Princess cruise and we enjoyed it very much. I will try not to make too many comparisons with other lines simply because we have sailed often on RC & Celebrity and enjoy many extra benefits on those lines which we did not receive on Princess.
We arrived at the terminal around 11AM and after going thru security were directed to a seating area where we sat for about 45 minutes til they started boarding and our number (3) was called. Once we were called though we were on the ship in less than 5 minutes. It was great to be able to go to our cabin immediately and drop off our carry-on bags. We had a corner aft on Caribe deck (753) and at first look the cabin seemed extremely tiny compared to others we had. Even walking down the hall we noticed all the cabins seemed smaller than on other lines but we found plenty of storage space and settled in. I must say we did miss having a sofa or love seat in the room - I really don't enjoy having guests sitting on our bed but that was just a small inconvenience. This was a BB category cabin - the second highest level of balcony cabin
Our room steward came to our cabin immediately to introduce himself and did a wonderful job being non-intrusive but efficient. He always had a pleasant word for us when we met him in the hall.
The Ruby Princess is a beautiful ship.One thing that took some getting used to was the elevators. Not all of them went to all the floors and getting to some places required getting off one elevator and walking over to anothe one. By the time the cruise was over we learned our way around
We went to the buffet for lunch and it was very crowded - had a lot of trouble finding a table but liked the variety of foods offered. One major problem with the buffet is I have to honestly say I never had food there that was more than merely luke warm. Even making a cup of tea was difficult as the water was not that hot. Some mornings I was there when they were putting the food out and it was not hot then either. The day they had the Mexican buffet was the first time I had to leave a full plate of food uneaten. It was so spicy I couldn't finish anything.
The dining room was another story. Food was wonderful - great variety of options and served nice and hot by a very attentive wait staff. One thing I did find very strange is we had a table of 6 children seated next to us - the oldest was 12 and the youngest was in a highchair. Their parents were seated at least 6 tables away in a different section of the DR. They took the kids to their table - ordered for them - and then left them on their own. All was fine while they were eating but once they were done they were running around and the poor waiter was tripping over them. The parents were oblivious. Our whole table offered to switch with the parents but were told that was the way they wanted it.
Entertainment was very good - maybe because some of the Production shows were new to us. We never had trouble finding a seat in the theater and loved the little trays that came out of the arm-rests to put your drinks on.
We enjoyed our day on Princess Cay but found it just about the same as all the Private Islands with the standard buffet. Tendering to the Island was great. Princess has the tendering process down pat. No waiting in crowded hallways - you go to the dining room and are given a number and you sit there til your number is called. Extremely efficient process and the same process was used at debarkation.
St. Thomas and St. Maarten - we had prevously been there often so we simply went off on our own and did some shopping and sightseeing.
Our last stop - Grand Turk - was cancelled due to hurricane Thomas. This was the reason we booked this particular cruise as it was a new port for us. Lots of grumbling and complaining but not from us. We will get there one day and we got an extra sea day. Seas were quite rough though so we had a rocky ride.
Debarkation was the usual hurry up and wait but sitting in the dining room with coffee and tea supplied helped ease the process. Once off the ship luggage was easy to claim and plenty of porters were there to assist you thru customs and out of the terminal
All in all we had a great cruise. Our first experience with Princess was very positive and we will definately sail with them again.