The Ruby Princess definitely lives as much as her glistening identify. She is a sublime magnificence. Boarding the ship, I needed to cease and admire the dazzling Piazza, a golden atrium that spans three decks.
Marble flooring, sweeping staircases and a domed chandelier assist the house sparkle. Glass-enclosed elevators glide up and down to offer a fowl’s-eye view of the plaza.
The central assembly house for the ship, the Piazza can be the place leisure will happen, the place people can sit to get pleasure from drinks and snacks and the place passengers can showcase their clean dance strikes on the round flooring.
In fact, the ship has many extra fantastic areas, together with 4 outside swimming swimming pools, jogging/strolling monitor, children membership, outside film display screen, basketball courtroom, miniature placing course, golf simulator, health heart, tennis courtroom, spa, library, artwork gallery, retailers, medical heart, web café, laundry, on line casino, scorching tubs, picture gallery, theatre, marriage ceremony chapel and far more.
Inaugurated Nov. 8, 2008, the Ruby Princess is a grand previous girl sporting her age effectively regardless of some wrinkles right here and there. In any case, the Ruby Princess is a descendant of the unique “Love Boat,” the Pacific Princess that starred within the standard Nineteen Seventies tv present “The Love Boat.” Airing on ABC from 1977 to 1986, the collection helped make Princess Cruises a family identify and popularized cruising.
The TV collection is credited with exhibiting viewers how a lot enjoyable a cruise could be and what a terrific trip alternative it’s to ebook a journey on a contemporary cruise ship. That was definitely the case for my weeklong cruise from Galveston, Texas, to the Western Caribbean. My cruise included stops in Roatan, Honduras; Costa Maya, Mexico; and Cozumel, Mexico.
The Ruby Princess gives a visitor capability of three,080 with a crew of 1,200. On our cruise, the ship had 3,050 passengers and 1,164 crew members. Most passengers had been from the USA and Canada with Texas and Louisiana the house states for probably the most cruisers.
Boarding the Ship
My brother Joe joined me on the Ruby Princess cruise. Joe lives in Colorado. I dwell in Indiana. So it was nice to fulfill up on the Houston airport to catch a Motev automotive for the 50-minute trip to the Harbor Home Resort & Marina at Pier 21 in Galveston.
If potential, I at all times recommend that cruisers spend the night time earlier than a cruise in a neighborhood resort. With the best way flights are cancelled and delayed, it’s sensible to reach the night time earlier than. That method, cruisers can get a great night time’s sleep and have a leisurely breakfast earlier than boarding the cruise ship the following day. And so they have further time to reach if these horrible flight issues occur.
What I appreciated greatest concerning the Harbor Home Resort was its cozy rooms, complimentary breakfast and shut proximity to the cruise pier. Our room had a bed room and a front room with a fold-out couch mattress. A small eating space had a desk and chairs.
After we checked out the following morning, a complimentary shuttle was ready to take us to our ship. We may simply have walked from resort to ship if not for our baggage. The shuttle was a beautiful perk.
Boarding the ship was fairly simple. We had executed the vital paperwork earlier than boarding so simply walked aboard the place a buffet lunch was ready.
For individuals who wish to take the identical itinerary we did, Princess Cruises is providing it once more on Nov. 5, 12, 26 and Dec. 10 on sister ship the Regal Princess.
Our Stateroom and Beautiful Veranda
Seeing my cruise ship stateroom for the primary time is at all times thrilling. Opening the door to C219, I used to be glad to see the floor-to-ceiling sliding glass door resulting in the balcony with its two chairs and desk. If I may take two cruises with an inside room or one cruise with a balcony, I’d select the balcony each time. Sitting on the balcony and watching the ocean move is considered one of my favourite pleasures of cruising.
Our stateroom had two twin beds, two bedside tables, a desk, desk chair, giant flat-screen TV on the wall, dresser, mini-fridge, secure and loads of drawers and closet house. The lavatory was large enough with a bathe and Lotus Spa eucalyptus and sea salt soaps and lotion.
The cabin décor was soothing with blues and browns and wonderful wooden. A mirror over the desk and a big mirror on the wall behind the beds made the room appear even bigger. A hair dryer on the wall by the desk mirror made it apparent the place the equipment was situated. Generally it seems the dryer is a bit hidden in a rest room cupboard, a desk drawer or closet. Joe and I don’t use hair dryers however I’m positive many passengers are glad to see it so simply seen and centrally situated.
Cabin attendant Victor knocked on the door nearly as quickly as we entered our stateroom to see if we had any questions or wanted something. He already knew our names and greeted us each time afterwards. Don’t know the way cabin attendants and cruise ship servers can keep in mind so many names. Victor additionally stored our stateroom effectively attended and clear.
Many Eating Choices and Culinary Decisions
For eating, the Ruby Princess has three fundamental eating rooms – Botticelli, Da Vinci and Michelangelo, plus the Horizon Courtroom buffet close to the highest deck which gives meals from 5 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
For an additional worth, cruisers can dine on the Chef’s Desk, Sabatini’s Italian Trattoria, Crown Grill and Salty Canine Gastropub. The Ruby Princess has 13 bars and lounges.
New cruise buddies William and Carolyn of Houston instructed me they plan to eat most of their meals at Horizon Courtroom. They just like the plentiful alternative of meals; the notion that they’ll simply stroll in at no matter time fits them; the consolation of eating in shorts and T-shirts; nice views from giant home windows overlooking the ocean; fast service of selecting from the buffet line as quickly as they enter and the power to return for seconds of meals they like.
I positive perceive these causes to decide on Horizon Courtroom. I ate lunch there many days for those self same causes. I additionally made it a behavior every time to stroll by way of all the large buffet to see what’s being provided earlier than I began filling my plate. It’s good to see all of the day’s choices earlier than making a dedication. Helps stop waste.
Though I like eating within the large open buffet for lunch, I favor having dinner within the Botticelli eating room the place the environment is extra quiet and chic. The menu adjustments every day and has a great number of decisions. One aspect of the menu, nonetheless, doesn’t change. It’s referred to as Princess Favorites and people can be found each night. That checklist consists of shrimp cocktail, basic Caesar salad, French onion soup, seared salmon and pan-roasted rooster breast. Every comes with sides, after all.
I’ve by no means ordered something from the Princess Favorites as a result of the night specials are so good. The “starters” themselves sound like a meal. One night time, the starters had been a cocktail of bay scallops, calamari, shrimp and black mussels; poached pear and blue cheese crumbles; escargots bourguignon; Jamaican pepper pot soup; roasted tomato cream soup; chilled goat cheese and apple soup; or Belgian endive, Boston lettuce and tomato salad.
One night time the entrée decisions had been veal pasta, pan-seared snapper, broiled lobster tail and king prawns, roasted farm-raised pheasant, Beef Wellington, pink wine braised beef brief ribs, and vegetarian pumpkin, walnut and mascarpone stuffed crepe. Robust decisions. All sounded nice. I selected the lobster and it was scrumptious.
In fact, it isn’t stunning that the meals on Ruby Princess appears good and tastes good. Culinary icon Rudi Sodamin is head of Princess Culinary Arts. The foremost cruise culinary artist on the earth, Rudi Sodamin has greater than 4 many years of expertise for a number of the world’s greatest cruise traces.
If a later snack is required, the Worldwide Café on Deck 5 is open 24 hours a day and gives complimentary pastries, paninis, pastas and salads. I’ve observed many passengers getting an after-dinner dessert on the Café, then carrying it over to a desk within the Piazza to benefit from the band, dancers and different leisure.
Specialty Restaurant Sabatini’s
If I didn’t see the ocean waves exterior the eating room window, I’d assume I used to be in some elegant restaurant in Italy. As a substitute, I used to be having fun with a leisurely meal at Sabatini’s Italian Trattoria specialty restaurant ($35) aboard the Regal Princess.
The Tuscan-inspired décor options stunning murals, heat woods, etched glass, Roman columns and grandiose chandeliers. A big glassed case shows particular wines. Bookshelves showcasing artwork objects and books present non-public nooks for diners. A really nice and quiet place to dine.
Seated at a stunning desk, Joe and I may watch the solar slowly starting to set and the ocean turning a darker blue. Candlelight lowed softly in frosted glass vases on the tables.
Our server rapidly introduced a menu and a basket of heat herb bread properly embellished with rosemary twigs. A grape flagon of olive oil was positioned subsequent to the bread. The bread was scrumptious and the perfect I’ve had on the cruise.
However I needed to make myself cease consuming it or I wouldn’t have room for the multi-course dinner provided by Sabatini’s. Diners are anticipated to take their time in Sabatini’s – to savor, loosen up and benefit from the environment and the meals.
The menu is lengthy, diverse and undoubtedly Italian. I don’t have room to checklist all of the choices so will simply share what I ordered. However I’ll emphasize that there are lots of completely different decisions on the large menu.
Everybody begins with an urge for food enhancer – roasted tomato and bell pepper passata (thick sauce) with prosciutto, further virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Served with a crispy fried bread.
For appetizer, I selected the burrata – a contemporary Italian buffalo milk cheese constructed from mozzarella and cream. It got here with roasted golden beets, fava beans, mint basil French dressing and toasted hazelnuts. Scrumptious and this was solely the start. Subsequent was soup or salad. My mushroom soup was very wealthy and creamy, full of contemporary mushrooms and served in a giant bowl. A meal in itself.
Then got here pasta. My alternative was seafood linguine with shrimp, clams and the basic Mediterranean flavors of tomato and prized ligurian olive oil. Entrees embrace rooster, veal, filet mignon and lobster tail. I attempted the scallopine di vitello al marsala and was glad I did. Superb with creamy mashed potatoes, sliced champignon mushrooms in marsala wine and sautéed garlic spinach.
I used to be going to cross on dessert till I noticed what the couple subsequent to me ordered. Our server prompt it, too. It was Rocher, a mix of chocolate, pralines and hazelnut ice cream sealed in milk chocolate and surrounded by crushed candied hazelnuts.
Good factor I didn’t should do something after dinner besides stroll across the higher deck, watch a little bit of Motion pictures Below the Stars and go to mattress. That was definitely a sleep-inducing meal. Now I do know why Sabatini’s has so many devoted followers.
Throughout my leisurely dinner at Crown Grill on the Ruby Princess, diners toasted a birthday and an anniversary. That may inform you that the ship’s specialty restaurant is a spot for celebrations.
It definitely is.
I had no particular cause in thoughts once I paid $39 to dine within the Crown Grill. I had simply heard that the eating spot was standard with passengers and wished to see for myself.
First, after all, is the good meals and the pleasant servers. I used to be fairly happy with each. Crown Grill is famed for its steaks and chops however it additionally gives lobster tail, prawns, mussels and Chilean sea bass.
Situated on Deck 7 aft, Crown Grill has a wealthy wooden décor, stately wood chairs with arms or cozy cubicles and art work paying homage to jolly previous England. Crown Grill is barely open for dinner from 5 to 9 p.m. Reservations are obligatory and it’s best to order early.
Crown Grill additionally options three completely different connoisseur salts for diners to attempt. I loved all three. That may appear unusual however every of the salts added a distinct taste to my meals. The server would put a bit of every salt or all salts on the sting of a plate so we may add them to our meals ourselves.
The Smoked Applewood Salt from the Yakima Valley of Washington state is fired with candy apple wooden which flavors the smoked seat salt with a refined fruit wooden style.
The Himalayan Mountain Pink Salt is powerful with a mineral taste. Together with being tasty, the salt additionally is claimed to supply many well being advantages and to take away toxins from the physique.
The Hawaiian Black Salt is a solar-evaporated Pacific sea salt mixed with activated charcoal. It has a surprising black shade, silky texture and pure saline taste.
The menu is sort of lengthy with tough decisions. For appetizer, I had the hand-cut beef filet tartare seared on a plancha-type griddle. It was served with a smoky dressing, crispy polenta sticks and a fried quail egg on prime. I’m going to should search for quail eggs at residence as a result of that one was very flavorful.
Subsequent I had the black and blue onion soup which is made with a splash of Jack Daniel’s whiskey. The soup had a terrific Roquefort cheese crust.
For entrée, I went with the ribeye steak, 14 ounces cooked to perfection. Different steak decisions had been a 12-ounce New York strip, 22-ounce porterhouse, 16-ounce Kansas Metropolis strip and 8-ounce filet mignon.
Aspect dishes had been baked Idaho potato, garlic and herb French fries, pink pores and skin mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus, creamed spinach or sautéed wild mushrooms.
For dessert, the server suggeested the nice and cozy chocolate mousse trifle. Heat chocolate mousse is layered with mild and ethereal cinnamon sponge cake, spiced cream, cookie crumbles and creamy vanilla gelato. Contemporary grapefruit segments add a tangy accent.
The server was proper. I’d have been sorry if I didn’t get to style the chocolate mousse. The right method to finish a meal.
The most costly eating choice on Ruby Princess ($95), the Chef’s Desk is an unforgettable expertise. The seven-course meal with wine pairing seats 10 folks at a particular desk behind Sabatini’s eating room. Every place setting was marked with a reputation card.
After we had been seated and launched to one another, server Luca poured a glass of champagne and Government Chef Dirk Daumichen described the menu he had created that isn’t provided anyplace else on the ship. Chef Dirk additionally shared a little bit of his background and the preparations for every dish.
The hors d’oeuvres alone had been a meal – escargot, tomato soup, sea scallops and baked pink bliss potato. Then got here the appetizers – creamy mushroom risotto with parmesan cheese topped with a lobster medallion. A palate cleaning sorbet got here subsequent – a strawberry and fervour fruit sorbet with contemporary strawberry bits with ardour fruit nectar and Gray Goose Vodka.
For the primary entrees, the chef selected a Caribbean duo with herb cruised lamb chop and grilled duck breast, pineapple salsa, berry confit, chateau greens and baked potato. For the cheese entrée, we had been served French brie with carrot spice sponge, walnut brittle and port wine glaze.
As a candy deal with, we loved bittersweet chocolate mousse with a salted caramel heart. The meal ended with espresso or tea with Chef Dirk’s selfmade petit fours. Altogether, Chef’s Desk lasted nearly three hours and Chef Dirk was very gracious in answering questions.
For fantastic souvenirs of our particular dinner, Chef Dirk gave all the ladies a rose. We additionally obtained an autographed copy of the menu and wines served in addition to a 5×7-inch shade picture of the diners, chef and serving employees plus a photograph of the chef with Joe and me.
Leisure and actions
Virtually any hour of the day or night time, it appeared as if leisure and actions had been provided on the Ruby Princess. Thank goodness for the two-sheet publication we obtained at turndown each night time in our stateroom.
Occasions included courses in tai chi, yoga, Zumba and line dancing, plus tournaments for golf placing, bean bag tossing, ping pong, darts, paper planes, basketball and extra. Demonstrations confirmed find out how to create fruit and vegetable carvings, serviette folding, towel folding, paper flowers, quilling, cross sew and extra.
Trivia video games examined passenger data whereas open-air motion pictures provided an opportunity to loosen up. Stay music entertained within the Piazza and bars across the ship in addition to night leisure within the Princess Theater.
All the time one thing to do and someplace to be. Or an opportunity to only sit in a comfortable chair and watch the ocean and the altering sky because the Regal Princess cruised towards our subsequent cease.
A part of the enjoyment of cruising is the stops alongside the best way the place passengers can select from a mess of shore excursions or decide to remain aboard the ship. When my brother Joe donned a white chef’s hat, I knew that the Tabasco Chef Maestro Cooking Class in Cozumel, Mexico, was going to be a reminiscence keeper.
I’ve by no means seen Joe prepare dinner however there he was slicing and dicing together with Chef Luiz. At particular person cooking stations, class members adopted Chef Luiz’s directions to arrange our lunch – ceviche, rooster enchiladas and rice pudding. Alongside the best way, Chef Luiz offered loads of cocktails and beer. A grasp mixer, Chef Luiz upended bottles of booze right into a blender for tasty margaritas.
In truth, Chef Luiz was the rationale this class was so tremendous. He gave the impression to be at all times on the transfer, retaining an in depth eye on his scholar cooks and providing an countless provide of jokes and mischievous appears. Positively the star of the present in addition to a superb prepare dinner.
Cruise Fare Consists of
Three fundamental eating rooms, buffet and another eateries
Water, espresso, scorching tea, iced tea and choose juices
All theater exhibits
Most every day actions
Motion pictures Below the Stars plus complimentary popcorn
Use of the gymnasium
Not Included in Cruise Fare
Transportation to and from ship
In a single day resort lodging earlier than cruise
Computerized beverage and spa ideas of 18 p.c
Gentle drinks, cocktails, beer, wine, specialty coffees and a few juices.
Entry to Lotus Thermal Suite
Adults-only Sanctuary deck
Backside Line: The Ruby Princess is a gorgeous and cozy ship. She isn’t as flashy or large as another vessels crusing the world however she wears her years effectively. The crew was prime notch and at all times attentive, going an additional mile to make sure that our cruise was a pleasure. Crusing from Galveston was a pleasant change with a laid-back vibe and pleasant passengers. Now celebrating her 15th birthday, the Ruby Princess will need to have helped create loving recollections for a lot of passengers. I hope she continues to take action for a lot of extra years to come back.
General Ranking: 9/10
Pictures by Jackie Sheckler Finch
Cowl picture of ship courtesy of Princess Cruises
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