March 2016 - Ruby Princess to Mexico
My wife and I are experienced cruisers having taken almost thirty cruises on eight different cruise lines around the world. When you cruise this much, you usually settle for a favorite cruise line and stick with it for future travel. We found this to be true on this trip with other travelers, because we arrived at the terminal at 11:00 a.m. and did not board the ship until 1:45, due to the 1300 "elite" passengers that were assigned priority boarding out of the total of over 3000 boarding passengers.
One reason we enjoyed this cruise was the consistently good service that we received in the dining areas, public rooms and our cabin. I spoke with contracted ship employees who have worked on other lines, and they claim that working for Princess is the best, which supports happy employees, happy customers.
My wife and I are "cruise foodies" and can rate the food against seven other cruise lines. I believe that Celebrity and Oceania has better food overall in the MDR, with typical gourmet items like scallops, escargot, lobster and baked Alaska served in the Princess MDR. We noticed that Princess has a higher percentage of seafood items for lunch and dinner than other cruise lines, which is fine with us. The vegetarian menu changes every day and sometimes has good dishes. The buffet is adequate and has a carving station daily, with staff providing drinks to the tables day and night. We often visited the International Café which is open 24 hours, and has a selection of soup, sandwich and salads, with a variety of desserts. Another place to dine would be at Afternoon Tea everyday from 3:30 - 4:30 in Da Vinci, where you can drink tea and munch on scones, cakes and cookies to your delight.
Almost every day of the cruise, we would meet our friends that we met earlier onboard at the Wheelhouse Bar on deck 7, for a great deal. The deal is if you buy a drink at the regular price, you get another for $1.00. With alcohol drinks at $9.00 and beer at $6.00, this is a good deal. Make sure that you get there early, because the place fills up fast.
The entertainment shows were satisfactory with one glowing exception. Princess typically has the same style lineup with four production shows, magician, singers and comedians filling in daily time slots, no matter how many days the cruise goes on for. We were very impressed with one of the production shows, and if you can see only one show while on the cruise, this should be the one. The name of the show is "Magic to Do" and the show is comprised of songs from the composer of Broadway hits 'Wicked" and "Pippen". The show reminded us of a short Broadway musical and was very entertaining using the Princess singers dancers.
Getting on the ship was a negative, but overall the three important categories when cruising, of food, service and entertainment, were magnificently covered by a very good Princess staff at all levels.