A few days ago I embarked on Princess Cruises Ruby Princess for a five-night Western Caribbean sailing from Port Everglades. On the cruise we stopped at Grand Cayman and Cozumel, along with two sea days. In the fall of last year I got to experience Princess Cruises brand-new Royal Princess (hear broadcast here), but it was just a quick two-night preview cruise, so there wasn’t much I could explore with the media events and press conferences.
Fast forward to this week, here are my five first impressions of Princess Cruises:
1. Staff is exceptional. From the moment I walked on the ship, to my cabin steward to even eating in the buffet area at on deck 15, the staff on Ruby Princess is exceptional! The first time we went to eat in the buffet area, we weren’t even sitting down one-minute and someone was checking on us and asking if we’d like some fresh lemonade or to let them know if we need anything at all.
2. The steakhouse rocks! When I even think of steak from a steakhouse, my mouth starts watering and the Crown Grill aboard Ruby Princess did just that. The Crown Grill serves premium beef and seafood items in an upscale atmosphere. After having a shrimp dish appetizer, a black and blue (french onion like) soup and a 22 oz. Porterhouse, I left before I could even order dessert. It was just that filling!
3. Spacious cabins. I probably carry as much, if not more, travel items than a woman. Between my gear, electronics and clothes, I require a lot of space. I first experienced the space Princess offers on Royal Princess, and the same rang true for Ruby Princess. To me, there’s a lot to be said about having a walk in closet just outside of the bathroom, especially if you’re traveling with more than one person. The closets you have to swing open are usually set up to cause three way gridlock from getting into the cabin, opening the bathroom door and blocking the hallway, not in a Ruby Princess balcony stateroom.
4. Movies Under the Stars. Sometimes I feel like just laying down and watching a movie, but not always in my cabin. Princess Cruises has their signature Movies Under the Stars that cures that problem. All throughout the day you can lay in a lounger and watch one of many movies that are listed in the daily guide (Princess Patter). I found myself outside the first night watching a Paul McCartney concert and then the first sea day watching Momma Mia.
5. Great Food Options. Food is so objective but Princess Cruises does have some of the best pizza at sea, at least to my palette. The crust, cheese and hot and fresh out of the oven, it just rocks! But if pizza isn’t your thing, it their main atrium (called The Piazza) you can stop by the International Cafe for around-the-clock free salads, snacks and sandwiches.
Final thoughts: I can see why Princess Cruises has so many Elite cruisers in their Captain’s Circle (loyalty club). The level of service they roll out for their guests is uncanny, especially for this first time Princess cruiser.