Letters to the Savvy Seafarer “Ruby Princess”

To balance out opinions,  the Savvy Seafarer prints letters from passengers about their experiences on various ships. “This is from a man who sailed on the Ruby Princess, which he says,  had her ups and downs (like most seagoing vessels)..The opinions are solely the letter writer’s and do not reflect the
Savvy Seafarer’s thoughts on the matter.   He writes:

I thought that I would send you a quick note as to our impression of the Ruby. As you know, we were going out on her 6th cruise, and were able to go to all of our scheduled stops (we were told that only one other cruise were able to make all their stops). The ship was very nice, I didn’t sign up for the internet because I was told it was very slow and not worth the money. That is why I waited until now to reply. I will start with things from the beginning.
The terminal in Fort Lauderdale is terrible. I am very familiar with the port Canaveral cruises and those terminals are like the Tajmahal in comparison. But the boarding process was quick. The rooms were very nice, the refrig. in the room didn’t keep things very cold. And in general the staff wasn’t very friendly or at least as friendly as the past cruises I have been on. It could be that the ship is new and they are still getting their crew adjustments made. There were never enough towels in the room (they supply 2 of each towel).
The meals were very good but we noticed that they weren’t seasoned very much and had a bit of a bland taste. None at our table were familiar with a lot of the items on the menu and the menu didn’t describe what they were (we had to ask the waiter to describe them). The only thing to drink on board was coffee (it was the best of all the ships I have been on) hot tea and Ice Tea. There was no lemonade or fruit punch and at the diningroom you have to pay for soda.
And even though the waiter really was working hard he had too many tables to take care of and there for we rarely got out of the dining room in less than two hrs.
The parties on deck had no food or drinks other than the normal waiters. Other cruise lines we have been on, when having a deck party always had food. These parties weren’t very much like parties. The theme nights were a disaster, none of the passengers knew when they were and weren’t given advance notice so we would know what to bring on the cruise.
The big screen tv was hard to hear unless you were able to get a seat right in front of the screen, but the movies were fairly new and had a good variety.
The pictures that were for sale were very pricey $24.95 each sheet and if you bought 3 sheet you would get a 4th free but you had to buy all 4 at the same time. We all agreed that we would have bought many more photos if they were less expensive. I hate the thoughts of all those pictures being destroyed.
As to the up side. They have the best entertainment of all the cruises I have been on! The singers, the dancers and comedians were fantastic and a lot of shows at different places on the ship. We never had enough time to do everything we wanted to do. I only made it to the gym once the whole cruise (I wanted to go more). I didn’t make it to the Golf simulator (I wanted to do that also). The dance lessons were fantastic. But I would suggest that they do a dvd and offer them for sale to those who take the lessons. We forgot most of what we learned and would love to review after we got home. The only thing we remember is the Waltz. I have to give the cruise directors a standing ovation! Starting with James and his entire staff!
If they wanted to sell more off ship excursions, they may want to try sending a dvd to each person who books a cruise with a very brief teaser of each tour or activity. After we got back and hear from other passengers of their outings I wished I would have scheduled more. The zip line through the rain forest sounded great and they loved the ride! I would have also like to have been on the castle tour. I wasn’t very impressed with the tour to the rum cake factory. And it is always nice to say you have been to Hell but the reality of the trip didn’t impress me. I would have liked to have had a tour of the high end condos and houses for sale at each stop. In fact I believe that it should be integrated with a real estate agent. The agents would sell more and each home owner could get a cut of the action? Estates, Castles, Penthouses, resorts etc. Another tour I would like to see developed is of the historic areas of Jamaica! It seems like the area has really gone down hill since it has been given it’s independence. I am sure there are a lot get building to be seen.
One of the things that I didn’t like was that we had to be back on board the ship at 3:30 each stop. Other ships we had until late in the evening. On the last few days the sale Items weren’t very varied. A lot of ships had hats and a wide variety of things a reduced prices.
My one real concern is the casino! I didn’t see anyone really winning there. I heard very few machines paying off and the whole time I was there the blackjack was terrible. I would have loved to have had them open a shuffling machine and examine the cards. I have never seen so many low cards in play in my life. I could even play the back jack machine (quarters) and win constantly but almost always lose at the tables. In fact I played about 1 hr. a day and in the whole time I was there only had one blackjack. That is an almost a statistical impossibility. So my advise to anyone who would sale on the Ruby is the following:
1: read the Patter and carry it everywhere, there are plenty of great things to do on board.
2: carry a camera and have someone take photos of you when their photographer is taking pictures. You won’t get quite the same affect but not many of us can afford hundreds of dollars in all the different poses.
3: check the blogs about the tours.
4: Don’t gamble! And if you do, expect to lose on the Ruby! A lot your self only gambling money for fun! It still isn’t much fun when everyone is losing!
I would like to go back to those locations but there are a lot of other cruise lines that I would like to sail with. But at least I can say I was on a brand new ship!
“finding your Island home”
Frank A. Herdman
Broker Associate
The Savvy Seafarer responds: during my cruise the slot machines were also sluggish paying and I didn’t see many people collecting coins. However the crew on my cruise was top of the line. Unlike Frank I didn’t like the coffee, it was weak and watery and tasted funny. I was only on a two-day press voyage so didn’t get to do excursions. The shows on all Princess ships are almost always some of the best at sea. I hate early sailings from ports that leave little time to explore because my husand and I usually go off on our own and take our time.  Photos have always been pricey so it’s best to bring a digital camera and take your own, there’s always an accomodating fellow passenger who is happy to take your picture.
Okay readers, send me more letters.


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