Cruising the Eastern Caribbean on the Ruby Princess
In the fall, three of my friends and I boarded the incredible Ruby Princess cruise ship to spend seven awesome days in the Eastern Caribbean. Our itinerary consisted of the Princess Cays (Bahamas), St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and Grand Turk. We sailed from the beautiful port of Fort Lauderdale with perfect weather on our side. People from nearby condos and apartments waved to us from their balconies, sending us off with a sweet and grand farewell celebration.
The Ruby Princess is one of the Grand-class cruise ships in the Princess fleet. It features 19 decks and holds 3,082 guests. My roommate and I booked an inside stateroom, located on the Caribe deck, also the most economical. Bonus, the rooms are pitch dark and make for great sleeping.
To save even more money, we chose the option where Princess Cruises picks the stateroom for us. This put us at the stern of the boat, but we did not mind the commute considering all the food we would be enjoying.
The Ship’s Entertainment Options
Entertainment is always top-notch with Princess Cruises. For us trivia buffs, we loved the fact that our daily agenda included 3 to 4 trivia activities per day. Our favorite trivia topics were Who Sang That and Guess the Face. Dave, a cruise director, was by far the most entertaining staff member that I’d ever encountered in well over twenty cruises. He kept the energy level high, and the laughs coming.
You may not know that Princess Cruises founded “Movies Under the Stars,” which plays current movies and concerts on the enormous screen on the Lido deck. The cruise staff provides blankets and freshly popped popcorn during the first-run films. On our cruise, they featured NFL football on Sunday and Monday nights, which made my day. They also showed movies in the Princess Theater, which was a crowd pleaser.
The only live production shows that we saw during this cruise was “Once Upon A Dream”. The show was packed with busy routines and featured two amazing dancers doing the tango and Paso Doble. Nighttime entertainment on the Ruby Princess included soft music in the Explorer’s Lounge or disco and dance music at Skywalkers.
For the shoppers onboard, the ship has options for purchasing souvenirs, jewelry, liquor, and such. They have specials offered daily, such as gold-by-the-inch, discounted t-shirts, and under $10 watches and costume jewelry. As always, the pools and hot tubs were a real treat.
You May Not Skip Afternoon Tea and Here’s Why
My favorite thing to do on Princess cruise ships is to go for afternoon tea. This service is offered daily and showcases a formal white-gloved tea service with a smorgasbord of delicious food. From passed canapés and sandwiches to pastries and scones, it is the best free activity you’ll have. The star of the afternoon tea is tasty cream and jam to accompany the scones, nearly as good as in the United Kingdom.
Dining on the Ruby Princess
Dining is a big part of any cruise, and the ship has two formal dining rooms as well as a buffet option on the Lido Deck. Pizza is also available 24-hours a day as well as room service. The Ruby Princess not only featured their typical specialty restaurants, Crown Grill (steaks) and Sabatini’s (Italian) but a new option as well. The Crab Shack is a $20 specialty restaurant that takes place in the back part of the Lido Buffet. It is a buffet with all things suited for crab, including Snow Crab legs. We tried to eat there but it was sold out after the second day onboard.
My friends and I did eat at the Crown Grill and had mouthwatering Filet Mignons, asparagus, creamed spinach, French Onion Soup, salad, and S’mores Stack dessert. See the need for the extra walking? Twice during our cruise, the Explorer’s Lounge hosted a British Pub lunch with Fish & Chips, Bangers and Mash, Chicken Curry, and a few other choices. It is always a hit and one of our favorite offerings. The British lunch takes place in a comfortable and relaxed setting. You will not want to miss it.
For wine enthusiasts, there is a high-end wine bar across from the International Cafe, the 24-hour eatery. It also has a daily tapas selection which is complimentary with the purchase of a beverage. Coffee lovers will have their devoted java bar for making their fancy (or not) coffee and tea favorites. It typically employs some of the most well-liked workers on the boat. I heard many compliments throughout the cruise about the friendly and attentive coffee bar workers.
Perks of Princess Cruising
My friend Jo and I had remaining coffee card punches from the card we bought in Alaska back in 2008. Princess still honored it. Our drink of choice is the creamy White and Milk Chocolate Mocha, made with a delicious powder mix.
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”. It was a fun activity which benefited everyone. I encourage you to participate. Didn’t know you were going to get educated while on your vacation, did you?
Thumbs Up To Another Great Cruise
With another successful cruise under our belts, it is time to start planning, preparing, and saving one. We are thinking the 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?
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