Having travelled from the UK we arrived in Miami somewhat tired after our long journey, being 10 of us including 2 kids of 4 and 18 months we passed through Immigration in about 1 Hour though not everyone was treated the same? we were asked why we were there (a usual question) and which Fire Service i worked in as i was wearing a cap given to me from a friend in Meridian Idaho...my youngest son was asked allsorts of questions even down to how much money he had on him.
We had a Bus all to ourselves on our drive to the Intercontinental West Hotel Miami our driver was a guy called George, we went out to find food and found crossing the main streets a problem due to there being no push button to stop the traffic due to it being missing... the beds at the hotel were exactly what others had said about them and we had a great nights sleep.
Kerry and myself were up at around 5-30am on Saturday and went out around 6-30 for a look around, we headed towards the Walmart along i think 87th street when we noticed a Fire truck outside the station building up a side road. Having just retired from the Fire service we headed over to talk to the guys there.
The Fire fighters had just changed shift at 7am and Xavier (nickname X) showed us around the Truck and station house and gave us Coffee, we met his Co workers and the officers in charge of the Units. We continued our walk down to Walmart (wanted to see what the UK Asda of the USA was like) we met my middle son and his family on their way back to the Hotel, he was suprised that they didnt sell food! we went into the store and had a good old look around and Kerry bought herself a New wristwatch.
At around 12-30pm we headed for FLL and the Ruby Princess taking the main Interstate Highway, due to a Major traffic jam after leaving i think I94 or 5 our driver turned his bus around and took a different route into the port. Having picked up our luggage and booking ourselves in we were in our rooms in around 20 minutes.
We made our way up to our Suite L106 located on Lido deck and right at the Front of the ship, on entering we found a great vase of Flowers and Fruit and a Fabulous room with lots of space and plenty of Wardrobe space as well as a massive Balcony that gave Great views of FLL and the ships in port such as Queen Mary2, Independance of the Sea`s, Zuiderdam, Carnival Freedom, Enchantment of the Sea`s. we stayed on the balcony with the family at sailaway time while looking out for "Inletcam.com" which was on our Port side....we all duly waved to those watching from the Garden.
The Bed was very comfortable all week long as was the cabin and the Chocolate Strawberries each day were wonderful, our cabin Stewardess Eleonora was Brilliant all week long. Room service though did fail to deliver our requested drinks on one night but i guess that happens sometimes and we fell asleep while waiting lol. There was very little noise from anywhere in this cabin.
Sunday morning we had breakfast and went to the M&G in the Horizon court at around 10am ..i think all those who said they would go did so, about 17 people took part in the Gift exchange which included some unusuals things. We went to the Captains Cocktail drinks in the evening and stood near the lifts and spoke to Lisa (james lays assistant) before the Officers were presented to the crowds of people by James Lay, we made our way through the passage to the rear of the lifts and found the Captain having his photo taken with 2 guests near the Da vinci dining room....we were just about to have ours taken when around 20 chinese people suddenly mobbed him which he looked non to pleased about but being the Captain put on his best smile....we managed to get our picture taken straight after. We had pictures taken during this First Formal evening.
We ate in as many places as we could so that we got an idea of the different food available though we did miss seeing beans on the Breakfast menu. We never ate any Burgers during the week and had Pizza only once on One afternoon.
On one morning we ate breakfast in Sabatini`s which was Fantastic starting with Orange/champagne it was a totaly different breakfast from anything else we ate during the week.
First stop Jamaica sadly was ruined by people constantly offering you this and that and something else and trying to get you to go to this beach here or elsewhere, Kerry and myself ended up in Margaritaville with 2 people from the Ruby and were later joined by 2 others Susan and Jake(think thats his name) not sure where they were from though, Tanya and Kerry were the worse for wear on the way back to the ship sporting their head dress balloons!! the kids had gone down to a Beach near to where the Enchantment of the sea`s was moored but were not happy with the locals down there who tried to get money from them....so i can understand why Princess have removed jamaica next year.
We watched next morning as we came upto Grand Cayman into Spotts Bay from the balcony, at 7am the Captain announced that he had been told to "go away" by the port people due to sea conditions in Georgetown and thats why we were facing Spotts Bay....the sea around the ship wasnt too bad but again the Port people told him that it was too risky to Tender around the pier area due to the Low weather system making the sea a bit choppy there...the Captain said he didnt think it looked too bad from what he could see. So with that the ship turned away towards Cozumel leaving the Disney Wonder and Enchantment of the sea`s behind.
When we arrived in Cozumel we again watched the docking from our Balcony and came in alongside the Carnival Legend, also ther was Independance of the Sea`s and Carnival Holiday...further up the coast inthe town area were an Aida ship and Disney Wonder and possibly another Carnival ship. We headed off to Chankanaab park for the day with the family, taking pictures of the Dolphins and Iguanas. we watched the sailaway from the balcony and the Bridge deck as we headed off towards Princess Cays. In the evening we ate in the Botocelli dining room and had a Retirement cake brought to the table, the 4 waiters sang happy retirement lol.
That evening we received a letter from the Captain inviting us to visit the Bridge the following day along with an Invitation to theCaptains Circle Cocktail Party on the Thursday evening. There were around 24 people taken to visit the Bridge after we had all been scanned and searched and again the Captain was waiting to greet us all.... he commented on the T shirts we wore...... the talk was given by 3rd officer Gianluco after which we were alowed to take pictures and speak to the other 4 people working their 4 hour shift on the Bridge.
In the evening with our formal night wear on we made our way to Club Fusion for what turned out to be the 3rd Captains circle party that day... due to the number of members aboard on this cruise, in his speech he said that we were currently doing 25.2knots due to being in the Gulf stream and were still using 5 out of the 6 engines and so could have reached a higher speed with all 6!
He also talked about the name for Ruby and said that of others people have mentioned one was " Tanzanite Princess" but it was too big to fit on the Bow...lol.... afterwards we went off to eat in the Da vinci dining room choosing to sit with other people and we were seated at an empty table although no one else came in so we ate alone on a table for 8. We again went to have pictures taken before our meal.
Friday was Princess Cays day and again we watched from the Balcony as we sailed in, we were off and onto the Cay quite quickly despite certain people trying to join the queue by leaving the lifts on Deck 4 rather than going to the Theatre, they were told where to go lol by people in our waiting queue. The day was very warm and sunny until around 12pm when the clouds began to roll in and by around 2pm there were Rain clouds gathering so we made our way back to the ship, the line though quite long moved along fairly quick.
For our last evening meal we ate with the rest of the family in Botocelli`s.
On Two of the nights we ate with other guests and also joined people from the M&G on at least One night Keith, John, Leslie and her mum Melody.
Overall we had a Great 1st ever cruise and enjoyed meeting the various people from our CC Roll call and Tony Yoemans and his staff. The food we found very good with plenty of choices though we didnt eat evening meals in Crown Grill or Sabatini`s through choice...the cabin was great despite having read some bad reviews about its location and noise and wind problems....we did manage to sunbathe on the balcony despite the wind! and hardly felt any motion from the sea or maybe it was just that we slept well.
We never had any problems with any of the staff and they were always polite and said good morning, one of the Bar waiters Alex from India is such a good laugh having nicknamed me Mr Becks after the sponsors on my Jaguar racing T shirt...every time we saw he he said hello its Mr Becks lol.
The Ruby is a Fabulous ship although in some places doesnt look finished on the Exterior, we noticed Rust under the Handrail on and around the outside of the Balcony, the top of the outsides of the Bridge deck partly painted as was the plating on top of the Promenade deck and one of the Glass doors was missing from the Port side Lido deck entrance.
The interior looks Great with All the pictures on the staircases and the furniture and fittings all comfortable.
If i missed things i will write a mini review of them at some stage.