Ruby Princess, Day 1
Finally, here's my review of the Ruby Princess....enjoy!
Ruby Princess, Day 1, Ft. Lauderdale
March 11, 2012
One of the highlights of this particular cruise for me, was the day before, when we flew in to Ft.Lauderdale and met up with a long-lost cousin of mine at the hotel. Sherill is a 1st cousin of my late mom's, and we had not seen each other for some 30-odd years!
Sherill and her husband Dave had just returned from a cruise on Celebrity, and instead of heading for their winter home in Florida, stayed at our hotel so that we could have a visit.
We enjoyed a lazy afternoon chat by the pool, a dinner in the hotel dining room, and breakfast together the next morning before they set off for home and we set off for our cruise.
On the morning of the 11th, we set off from the Rodeway Inn & Suites on their very efficient shuttle service to the port, arriving around 10:30, and were surprised to see many people still disembarking. There was no line up at the entrance, nor at security or check-in, but then we were led to a large seating area where we waited from 10:35 to 12:05, when they began calling our numbers to be boarded. After the obligatory embarkation photo, we were boarded and we took some time to photograph the beautiful "Piazza", the main lobby of the Ruby Princess.
Our cabins were ready by 12:30, so we went directly there (Riviera Deck 14, forward), directed along the way by very friendly and helpful staff.
We found our cabin spacious and light, with a small but efficient balcony, and much more bathroom counter space and closet and storage space than on our previous cruise on Celebrity.
As usual, our first visit was to the Lido deck and the Horizon Court buffet for lunch. Not as open-concept as Celebrity's buffet, in fact a bit crowded, but the food choices were good, and we enjoyed a nice first lunch. My only (small) complaint was that in addition to coffe and tea, the only other free drink option was water and iced tea (which is just awful), instead of the choice of juices and lemonade that I remember them having. Lemonade was advertised as available, but you had to ask your server. I'm guessing they got tired of people filling up their huge thermal cups with lemonade and juice, and are trying to limit consumption and save money.
One of the things we were given at check-in was a Treasure Hunt card. You were supposed to take this card with you as you explored the ship, and have it stamped at various shops, bars,
and places of interest around the ship, then turn it in at sailaway to possibly win a prize.
It was a fun and interesting way to explore the ship, find different places, meet the staff who would stamp your card, and get to learn your way around. We spent most of the afternoon
doing just that, photographing the various areas along the way.
Before sailaway, there was the requisite muster drill, only instead of standing in rows out on deck under the life boats, we were directed to the Princess Theatre for a quick safety drill and life jacket demonstration.
Then it was time to party! Princess did not disappoint, organizing a wonderful sailaway party, with excellent pool band "Accent", and a fun entertainment staff who had everyone up line dancing and boogeying as we sailed out of Ft. Lauderdale.
There was also the giveaway of prizes for completed Treasure Hunt cards, and James won the first prize, a coupon worth $25 for the casino. Other prizes included flower arrangements, specialty restaurant dinners, spa treatments, photo packages, etc. Nice idea, and nice prizes!
Our first evening dinner was "free-choice" or anytime dining, in the Michaelangelo Dining Room.
There was no line up, no waiting, and the service was quick and attentive. Upon presenting the Head Waiter with my (previously arranged) "special dietary needs" card, he was most helpful in
assisting me in choosing gluten-free menu choices. Not only did he bring me special gluten-free bread, but also brought me the next night's menu to help me choose for tomorrow.
I was very impressed with the service!
I was even more impressed with the food. I started with a cold Pina Colada soup, served in a hurricane glass with a straw. What a treat!
This was followed by Barramundi with onion, eggplant, red pepper and tomato sauce, which
was delicious. James had an excellent Porcini Mushroom soup, followed by Texas Chili served
with rice. For dessert he had Chocolate Mousse and I had the recommended flourless Chocolate
Cake with cream. A wonderful first dinner on board!
Immediately following dinner, we went to the Princess Theatre for the Welcome Aboard Show.
The Ruby singers and dancers proved to be excellent in both singing and dancing, and performed a nice medley of Sailing and Seas Cruise songs, followed by the very funny comedic acrobatic/juggling act of ROCKBERRY. Our Cruise Director, Sam (Samantha Hawker-Thomas), our very
first female CD, also gave a preview of all the wonderful shows lined up for the week, and we looked forward to them all.
From the theatre, we headed to the Crooner's Lounge to see our old friend Bert Stratton.
He was not singing this first night, just playing piano quietly, and occasionally engaging the audience in conversation or "participitation". It was decidedly low-key for Bert, and odd, but he still had us laughing when he played the well known "Charlie Brown" theme, the one
where Snoopy dances and the kids all dance with that shoulder-shrugging movement, and a couple of middle aged men in front started to do the dance.
Bert recognized me finally, and came over for a big hug, and sat and talked with me and a woman named Reggie, his "groupie" who was on her 16th Bert cruise!
Then it was off to bed and a particularly rocky night at sea....
Last edited by rollerdonna; March 26th, 2012 at 10:53 PM.