Ruby Princess – Day 7 – At Sea

Our last day was at sea. I really do enjoy sea days and like to have the last day on the ship be at sea so that I can just relax.  I started out this day by going to a Culinary presentation in the main theater and then a galley tour.  It was really interesting.  Of course, I didn’t take notes, but besides demonstrating how to make a simple pasta dish and a Caesar salad with dressing, they also told us how many eggs, bread rolls and some other staggering statistics from the kitchen.  The galley we toured serves both of the main dining rooms.   

After this I headed out to the pool with my niece, her son and boyfriend.  We had some cocktails and got some sun.  They had a lot of fun stuff going on right next to us including a cocktail making competition and ice sculpting demonstration.  I won a free cocktail – yay!!  At some point we went up and played miniature golf – it’s a pretty lame course, but a way to kill some time.  We also found the “video arcade” with 4 ancient games in it that evidently eat your money.         

This day was pretty much like our other at sea day.  I’m going to finish this post with my overall review of the Ruby Princess.

I hadn’t cruised in about 4 years and this was my first time with Princess, and I have to say I was a little disappointed.  Since I’ve come back I’ve done some research and it seems that I am not alone – the overall cruise experience on the “mass market” cruise lines seems to have gone down in the last few years.  The Ruby Princess is a beautiful ship with a lot of great things.  I loved the International Café; Vines Wine Bar could have been more enclosed to make it feel more special, but the service was good; the Crown Grill was incredible; Princess Cayes was a nice alternative to having a 3rd sea day; the entertainment was good; the internet café had plenty of computer and the speed was much better than in the past; the Trident Grill made good burgers; the adults only Terrace Pool was a plus as well.  On the down side, I found the food in the main dining room to be uninspired – the preparation was good, but the choices were not very interesting; the overall service on the ship was lacking – although my room steward, Henry, was very friendly and did a good job; the Casino had a sign up one morning that it would be smoke free that evening, but when I went in people were smoking; I didn’t like the big screen over the Calypso Pool with movies & concerts playing all day – it was too noisy for me and this was where the comfy lounge chairs were – although I thought Movies Under the Stars at night was a great idea. 

I just did not feel the WOW factor that I’ve had in my previous 5 cruises.  I will definitely not set my expectations so high the next time I go cruising.

That’s it for the cruise.  We were back inFort Lauderdalethe next day.  We stayed over one night at theCrownePlazanear the port/airport.  It was really nice and comfortable and in a very convenient location.  I would recommend this hotel.  We rented a car and drove down to Miami to check out South Beach.  Had a little lunch and walked on the beach.  It was very windy and a little overcast, but still warm.  This was a nice relaxing end to our week.

Cruising on the Ruby Princess – Getting There

My friend, Pam, decided last year that she would like to take a cruise for her 40th birthday.  She chose the Ruby Princess because it sailed the day before her birthday and had a nice itinerary.  We hoped for a big group, but ended up with 6 of us which turned out to be a great number for doing excursions together and dining together.

Disclaimer: as soon as I left my house I went into extreme vacation mode.  I took very few pictures during this vacation which is odd for me.  Usually I have pictures of the hotel rooms from every angle, airport shots and lots of scenery.  I am hoping to get my travel mates to post some on my Perfect Paradise Vacations Facebook page so you might check there occasionally to see if they do.

I was traveling with 3 others and since our flight was at 7:30 Saturday morning we decided to stay near the airport.  We stayed at the Doubletree at Seatac and we had a really nice room (and yes, we got warm chocolate chip cookies on check in).  We had a suite – the main room had 2 queen beds, a little seating area, flat screen TV, good size closet and bathroom.  The 2nd room had a king bed, seating area, flat screen TV, and a sink – but no bathroom.  Very comfy beds, but we weren’t there for very long – just a short nights sleep.

We flew on Delta and since Dennis travels a lot for business we got to do VIP check in and boarding – I love that.  Our flights went well.  We did have a long layover inDetroit, but it gave us time to stretch our legs and get something to eat.  This is a large airport – we arrived at gate A2 and our connecting flight was at A65 or something like that.  As we were walking through the terminal my 12 year old nephew noticed that gate A55 looked like it said ass – we all got a chuckle out of that. 

We got intoFort Lauderdaleat about 10:30 Saturday night so we just had another nights sleep at our hotel.  We stayed at the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina.  We are pretty sure our room was downgraded because the Oakland Raiders were staying there before their game withMiamithe following day.  Our room was tiny.  Barely room for the 2 double beds, and once we got a rollaway for my nephew we were wall to wall beds.  I did take a picture of the closet which didn’t even have room for us to put one of our suitcases in. 

The great thing about this hotel is that it is very close to the Port Everglades pier.  We dropped our checked bags and then went and did some shopping for bottled water, wine and a few things we had forgotten.  Got onboard around 1:30 I think.  Check in was very smooth, we walked right on and our rooms were ready so we dumped our carry ons and headed to the poolside bar.  We did a little wandering around the ship to sort of orient ourselves, and later in the afternoon we bumped into Pam and Rosanna and had another cocktail or two.  Enjoyed dinner in the main dining room and then some of us went out and listened to some karaoke after dinner.  It was a pretty early evening for me after all the traveling.

I booked an obstructed view room so that I could see what it was like – not bad on this ship.  What do you think?


Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas

I attended a breakfast seminar this morning to learn more about the new Oasis of the Seas.  I will admit, I have been a bit of a skeptic about this new mega-ship.  After the presentation this morning, I can’t wait to see this ship for myself (not just see it, but sail on it!).

Oasis of the Seas is a destination in itself.  Her current Itinerary is the Eastern Caribbean, sailing out of Ft. Lauderdale and visiting St. Thomas, St. Martin and Nassau, Bahamas.  The ship itself consists of 7 distinct “neighborhoods”, each will appeal to different tastes. 

Choose a balcony stateroom overlooking Central Park with its upscale restaurants including 150 Central Park, Vintages Wine Bar and the more casual Park Café.  Shop in the upscale shops such as Coach, or get your portrait taken at the photographers studio onboard. 

Or maybe you’d prefer to be where more of the action is.  You might choose the Boardwalk, where you’ll find the aqua theater, casual dining including Johnny Rockets, the Boardwalk Donut Shop and the Seafood Shack.  Ride the Carousel (that’s right, a full size carousel at sea!), or watch people flying overhead on the zip line. 

The Royal Promenade is another great choice with shops, restaurants and bars including the Schooner and Champagne Bars.  Stop in for a beverage at the Rising Tide Bar and ride between Decks 5 & 8. 

You can also hang out in the state of the art Vitality Spa and Fitness Center, choose some healthy fare at the Vitality Café, get in your daily workout, or pamper yourself in the incredible Spa, which includes a special area with treatments designed just for teens.  The pool deck has 4 unique pools – you will always be able to find a lounge chair and a place to cool off onboard.  There are actually 7 pools altogether on this ship, including one in the adults only Solarium.

The Sports Deck may be more your speed with its 9 hole mini-golf, full size basketball court (also used for volleyball), two flow-riders, in-line skating and more. 

The incredible Youth Area includes a Family Theater, art room, science programs and of course activity spaces divided up by age.  This ship also includes a nursery for children age 6 months to 3 years.  For only $8 per hour, the staff will care for and entertain the youngest passengers – and yes, they change diapers!

Not only is there something onboard for everyone to do, there is a stateroom category to fit every need.  From the basic Inside, Oceanview and Balcony staterooms, you can also choose the Presidential Family Suite which sleeps up to 14; one of the fabulous Loft Suites, sleeping up to 6; Aqua Theater Balcony staterooms; Promenade staterooms where you have a window overlooking the Royal Promenade; Owners suites, Junior suites and more.  There are over 30 stateroom categories to choose from!

Did I mention that there are 24 dining options and numerous bars & lounges; entertainment including Jazz on 4, Comedy Live, a Mardi Gras type parade, Studio B ice shows, Dazzles nightclub and more; Club Royale Casino; the H2O zone water park – there are too many great things to list here.

In case you are concerned about getting lost, this ship has a state of the art system to help you find your way around.  Touch screens are located throughout the ship.  You can touch “Room Finder”, put in your stateroom number and it will tell you how to get there; “Venues Around the Ship” to find any venue; “Dining” to not only find the restaurant you want, but also see if there is a wait; and even “What To Do Right Now” which will list the activities going on at the time and direct you to where you need to go.  There are also signs next to each elevator with a diagram of the ship and of the deck you are on, as well as a deck listing of what is on each deck.This is an amazing ship with so many unique features pretty much anyone could enjoy themselves onboard. 

And from what I hear, you don’t feel at all like you are on a ship, so for those who don’t cruise because of motion sickness or because they think they will be bored onboard, you might want to reconsider and try the Oasis of the Seas!