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Ruby Princess
A new jewel in Princess Cruises' Crown

Ruby Princess

Greeted by Port Everglades fireboats, Ruby Princess arrives at her Fort Lauderdale homeport

Part One

by Linda Coffman

November 2008Princess Cruises has done it again with the introduction of the third "Crown" ships to the fleet. Preceded by Crown Princess in 2006 and Emerald Princess in 2007, Ruby Princess completes the line's new-ship building program in grand style.

While not the world's largest ship by any stretch of the imagination these days, at 113,561 tons the new Ruby Princess contains the tradition of Princess Cruises' signature features, as well as introduces some innovative features that expand the on board experience to a higher level.

Mini-suite Ruby Princess
Mini-suite D120 on Dolphin Deck
Mini-suite bathroom Ruby Princess
Mini-suite bathroom

Accommodations
One of the first things most people notice is the abundance of balconies on any Princess ship. Naturally, Ruby Princess has plenty—a whopping 80% of all outside accommodations feature spacious balconies stepped out in wedding cake fashion. My mini-suite balcony on Dolphin deck featured clear panels beneath the railing and was deep enough for two chairs with adjustable backs and a metal dining table with two matching chairs. For safety purposes, there are sprinklers overhead on all balconies.

Princess standard accommodations have traditionally featured numerous amenities and the line continues to provide Ruby Princess passengers with staples such as hairdryers, small refrigerators, television, telephone with voice mail, personal safe, large walk-in closet, and robes for use throughout the cruise. Beds are dressed in European-style duvets and linens and have posh fluffy pillows. Real conveniences for passengers who must remain in touch with family or the office are ship-wide WiFi and cell phone connectivity.

More space and comforts are available to mini-suite and suite occupants, including separate sitting areas, luxury bedding and towels, a choice of pillow styles, and bathtubs in mini-suites. Suites additionally have a DVD/CD player, magnifying vanity mirror, massaging shower head, robes and slippers, and a complimentary mini-bar (one time set up).

Thirty-one wheelchair accessible cabins are available in a variety of categories, including 21 with balcony, 4 ocean view, and 6 inside. Oddly, there are only two interconnecting 'family' suites, although at 607 square feet (including balcony) they are large.

Sabatini's

 Princess' signature
 Italian trattoria Sabatini's

Dining
If I had to pick the one thing I like best about a Princess cruise, it would be the Personal Choice Dining concept. I prefer the idea of eating when I'm hungry and not planning my day around a set schedule. Tailoring a cruise vacation to my lifestyle is high on my list of priorities.

Ruby Princess still offers set seating dining for traditionalists who prefer it, but also takes choices to a new level for those of us who are a bit more spontaneous.

Dining options include:

  • MichelangeloDaVinci, and Botticelli dining rooms (one traditional seating, two for personal choice) are elegant and intimate. Each features artwork in the masters' styles.
  • Horizon Court is the casual buffet restaurant with sea views from floor to ceiling windows. Servers are on hand to provide beverages and assistance. New on Ruby Princess in the Horizon Court are a waffle station at breakfast and lemonade in the beverage stations.
  • Cafe Caribe, adjacent to the Horizon Court is also a buffet, but with Caribbean themed menus and an open kitchen concept where diners can order their meal.
  • International Cafe is an expansion of the patisserie found on other Princess ships. Open 24-hours, it features specialty coffees, pastries, salads, panini sandwiches, and tapas. Aside from some specialty items, there is no charge.
  • Vines wine and seafood bar serves fine wines accompanied by artisan cheeses, sushi, and other chilled seafood appetizers, for a modest charge.
  • Sabatini's, Princess' signature Italian trattoria has a top-deck location with sweeping views and an outdoor area for al fresco dining. Cover charge is $20 and well worth it for the tasting courses alone, not to mention the entrees and desserts. Exclusively for full-suite passengers is the opportunity to enjoy a leisurely breakfast in Sabatini’s.
  • Crown Grill expands upon the Sterling Steakhouse concept in a warm, wood-paneled setting. In addition to steaks and chops, seafood items such as lobster are available. Passengers can watch their dinner being prepared at the eat-up counter, although I recommend sitting at one of the comfortable banquettes instead. Cover charge is $25; some items may carry an additional charge.

In addition to dining rooms and restaurants, the Trident Grill is a handy poolside spot to get a burger and fries for lunch. Nearby is the Prego for pizza and Scoops Ice Cream Bar, where premium frozen treats are served for a modest fee. Complimentary ice cream is also served in the Horizon Court for a short time every afternoon.

Other dining choices for passengers with balcony accommodations are the Champagne Balcony Breakfast ($28 per couple) and the Ultimate Balcony Dinner, served course-by-course with lobster tails ($50 per person).

Something new, and soon to be introduced on Emerald Princess and Crown Princess, is the authentically British Pub Lunch served in the Wheelhouse Bar. With choices such as fish 'n chips, bangers and mash, cottage pie, and ploughman's lunch, it was so popular on our sailing that lines formed and, best of all, it's complimentary.

Gourmets can opt to dine at Chef’s Table, a dining event that offers passengers the opportunity to be welcomed into the the ship’s galley by the executive chef for pre-dinner cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, followed by a specially prepared multi-course tasting dinner in the dining room hosted by the chef. Limited to 10 diners per night, the charge is $75 per person.

If that isn't enough choice, there's 24-hour room service and you can even order pizza delivered to your cabin for a nominal $3 service charge.


More --> Ruby Princess Preview - Part Two

Cruise Diva's Ruby Princess Blogs:


Princess Cruise Reviews

Princess Cruises - Cruise Line Profile

Top Image Courtesy of Princess Cruises
Photos Linda Coffman



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