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Ruby Princess
A new jewel in Princess Cruises' Crown

Ruby Princess Atrium Staircase

by Linda Coffman

Part Two

Where the Action Is
If you've sailed on Crown Princess, Emerald Princess, or even earlier Grand-class ships, you'll find Ruby Princess easy to navigate. That's because the layouts are identical, or at least similar, and the public rooms bear many of the same names and function similarly. To make getting around easy, repeat after mepublic rooms are on Decks 5, 6, and 7 and most outdoor spaces are on deck 14 and above. It's not quite that uncomplicated, but it's a start.

Inside is where the lounges are located and there are a lot of them, which contributes to the lack of crowding—passengers fan out to their favorites. Like old friends, you'll find the traditional Princess Theater where production shows and other entertainment is scheduled; the Wheelhouse Bar, a cozy and clubby room with sailing ship models and nautical memorabilia; and Explorers Lounge, decorated in Far Eastern fashion and the site to enjoy cabaret and comedy. Nearby, Crooners serves up designer martinis from a "Tee Many Martoonis" menu accompanied by a pianist and Rat Pack vibe. The secondary show lounge, Club Fusion is a high-tech and high-action venue for interactive entertainment. There's continuous action...

Speaking of action, gentlemen, try your luck in Gatsby's Casino and then relax in the adjacent Speakeasy Cigar Lounge, while your sweetheart spends your winnings in one of the nearby boutiques. Or...

Keep her away from the shops on board by taking her to the Adagio Lounge on Deck 16, a relaxing spot for pre- or post-dinner cocktails. Or head all the way up to Deck 18 to Skywalkers Nightclub, the disco that still overlooks the ship's wake, but is no longer located in a "spoiler" high in the sky. You did notice that, didn't you? Ruby Princess has a much sleeker line with the disco in its new position, a bit lower and forward. Gone is the "Shopping Cart" appearance.

For passengers interested in the behind-the-scenes workings of a cruise ship, and who don't mind paying $150 for the experience, the “Ultimate Ship Tour” offers the unique opportunity to explore areas normally off limits to passengers. Participants also receive a variety of themed mementos at many of the stops along the three-hour route, which takes in the ship’s engine control room, medical center, print shop, laundry, photo lab, bridge, and other spaces typically seen only by the ship’s crew.

Where There's More Action & None At All
Veg out or work out? The Lotus Spa and fitness center goes to both extremes. Those who choose the latter will find a swim-against-the-current pool, exercise machines to get the heart pumping, free weights, and an aerobics room. Some classes are complimentary, while there's a fee for others such as yoga, spinning, and pilates. Steam rooms and saunas are located in changing rooms, but for true relaxation after a work out, give the thermal suite a try—heated stone loungers, a gentle sauna, aroma steam, and rain and fog showers are included in the $20 per day fee (packages are currently priced at $99 for the entire cruise or $115 for a couple). While complimentary to full-suite passengers, passes for the thermal suite are limited to forty per day. The Lotus Spa and Salon offers treatments and services by Steiner Leisure.

The Sanctuary

For true adults-only indulgence, look no further than one deck above the spa in the Sanctuary where peace and tranquility are only a thickly padded lounge chair away. About three-quarters of the deck is shaded for comfort and passengers needn't lift a finger after being greeted by Sanctuary Stewards with a chilled towel. Forgot your iPod? No problem, MP3 players loaded with soothing sounds (as well as noise canceling headphones) are available for rent. Servers circulate offering healthy snacks and beverages (a nominal service charge applies for food). Cabanas are located at the bow where massages with a view can be booked through the Spa. A $10 per half day charge is levied for use of the Sanctuary to insure the serene atmosphere.

Acrobatics in The Piazza

The Piazza
Like her sisters ships, the heart of Ruby Princess is the atrium's Piazza. And why not? Adjacent is the International Cafe and it's a WiFi hot spot. It's also the perfect place for coffee and a danish in the morning, tapas before dinner, and to people watch at any time.

Throughout the day and evening you'll often find passengers lined up along the overhead railings while a 'street performer' entertains. You never know who or what you'll see during these serendipitous interludes. My favorites were Spank, a four-member acappella duo hop group, and Vitalli & Dani, the hand balancing acrobatic pair pictured here.

Fun Stuff For Families
No one gets overlooked on Ruby Princess and the youth and teen areas are as appealing as the programs' names. Remix (ages 13-17), Shockwaves (ages 8-12), and Princess Pelicans (ages 3-7) offer age-specific spaces and activities. Indoors and outside, play areas for younger children are extensive and teens even have their own private whirlpool spa.

Not new, but not to be overlooked is MUTS, Movies Under The Stars—the giant Times Square style movie screen (pictured here at right) where concerts and movies are featured at the Calypso Reef Pool. After dark it's kind of like going to a drive-n movie (remember those?), only without the car or an admission charge.

Becoming the "Consumate Host"

The launch of Ruby Princess completes Princess Cruises' new ship building program for the immediate future. And, while Princess is always in the design phase for the next generation of ships, at present they are concentrating becoming the "Consummate Host" at sea with an emphasis on a level of service that harkens back to more gracious times. That was obvious even during our short preview cruise with comfortable new bedding in the accommodations and the offer of beverage service in the buffet. During regular cruises passengers can expect to be offered chilled face cloths to cool off on hot days when returning from shore, "misting stewards" poolside with spray bottles of Evian water, and complimentary canapés served in the evening.

Even leaving at the end of a cruise has become a less painful event on Princess ships. "Silent Disembarkation" is carried out to ensure a smooth and comfortable transition ashore. Everyone is assigned a time to proceed to a public lounge to await clearance; when the gangway is opened, each group departs their assigned lounge in order. With no crowding or long lines, the system worked beautifully on our sailing and we left feeling relaxed, pampered, and hoping to return soon.

Ruby Princess Fast Stats

  • 113,561 tons
  • 951 feet long
  • 118 feet wide
  • Speed 22.5 knots
  • 3,080 guests, double occupancy

Back to --> Ruby Princess Preview - Part One

Cruise Diva's Ruby Princess Blogs:

  • Princess Celebrates Romance With The Launch of Ruby Princess
  • Ruby Princess: Romance Afloat
  • Ruby Princess: At Sea Aboard The Inaugural Sailing

Princess Cruise Reviews

Princess Cruises - Cruise Line Profile 

Photos © Linda Coffman 

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