Adventures on the Ruby Princess
One week in October, three friends and I boarded the gorgeous Ruby Princess, which was just off a TransAtlantic cruise, for 7 days in the Eastern Caribbean cruise with Captain Martin Stenzel in command. Our itinerary was Princess Cays (Bahamas), St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and Grand Turk. We left from the beautiful port of Fort Lauderdale and the weather forecast was perfection. The people from nearby condos and apartments gave us a grand farewell celebration, waving from their balconies and such.
Part of the Grand-class cruise ships, the Ruby Princess features 19 decks, and holds 3082 guests. We chose an inside stateroom, located on the Caribe deck, which is the most economical, plus the best for sleeping since the room is totally dark. Generally we are more midship oriented but this stateroom (which we let Princess pick for us) was at end of the boat, but we did not mind the commute considering all the food we consumed during our trip.
Cruising Entertainment Options
Entertainment is always top notch on Princess cruises and for us trivia buffs, we loved the fact that our daily agenda included three to four trivias per day. The favorite trivia topics: Who Sang That? and Guess the Face. Dave, one of the cruise directors, was by far the most entertaining staff member that I have encountered in well over twenty cruises. Princess founded “Movies Under the Stars” and shows first run movies and concerts daily, along with offering soft blankets and popcorn. Sunday and Monday nights they also showed NFL football, which made my day. They were also showing movies in the Princess Theater, which was a big draw.
The only production show we saw on this cruise was “Once Upon A Dream”. The show was cram packed with busy routines and featured two amazing specialty dancers doing the tango and Paso Doble. Nighttime entertainment on the Ruby included soft music in the Explorer’s Lounge or the disco/dance bar at Skywalkers. For the shoppers onboard, the cruise ship has several options for souvenirs, jewelry, liquor, and such, but they also have daily sales, such as $20 t-shirts (2 of them) blow out, etc.
You May Not Skip Afternoon Tea and Here Is Why
Our favorite thing to do on the Princess cruise ships is attend daily afternoon tea. This offers white glove tea service and a smorgasbord of passed canapés, sandwiches, pastries. The star of the show is wonderful scones with cream and jam. Afternoon tea is a free option, yet it is amazing what a small crowd it attracts. The devoted Princes tea fans are there daily though. An adorable six year old was in attendance daily and exhibited impeccable manners and behavior. I was impressed!
Dining on the Ruby Princess
Our boat not only featured the typical specialty restaurants, Crown Grill and Sabatini’s, but a new option as well. The Crab Shack, a $20 specialty restaurant that actually takes place in the back portion of the Lido Buffet, is a buffet with all things suited for crab, including Snow Crab legs. We tried to book but it was sold out after the second day onboard. We did go to Crown Grill, a $25 fee, for mouthwatering Filet Mignons, asparagus, creamed spinach, French Onion Soup, salad, and Smores Stack dessert. See the need for the extra walking? Twice during our cruise, Explorer’s Lounge hosted a British Pub lunch with Fish & Chips, Bangers and Mash, Chicken Curry, and a few other English choices. This is always a hit and a nice relaxed setting. You will not want to miss it.
For wine enthusiasts, there is a first class wine bar across from the International Cafe, the 24 hour eatery, which also includes a daily selection of sushi or tapas with the purchase of a beverage. The coffee bar, situated right beside the International Cafe, and in the midst of the atrium entertainment. It was staffed with hard-working, friendly souls that really helped make some travelers vacation extra special. I heard many compliments throughout the cruise about the coffee bar workers.
Perks of Princess Cruising
My friend Jo and I still had coffee card punches (a discount option) from our 2008 Alaskan cruise and Princes still honored it. Our drink of choice is the ultra creamy white and milk chocolate mocha. Stay away from the very odd menu option raspberry caramel frappe. Skywalkers lounge hosted an event for Elite and Platinum passengers every day from 5-7:30 with free appetizers and $5 drink specials. Our favorites were the shrimp and sushi events.
Worth mentioning is that the Ruby Princess combines my two favorite things: Cruising AND the Bee-Gees. The cruise staff gave a course on learning CPR to the tune of “Stayin’ Alice”. This was a great activity which benefited everyone. I encourage you to participate.
Another successful cruise under our belts so time to start planning, preparing, and saving for the next. We are thinking Greek Isles including Turkey, or perhaps after many years of considering it, a New England & Canada cruise next fall. Where is your next cruise taking you? Perhaps the Ruby Princess has just what you are looking for.
Ruby Princess Photo Gallery:
Check out our articles regarding the cruise ports: