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Ruby Princess November 11, 2012 Trip Report with Pictures

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Hello Everyone,

 

This is my first time writing a review since joining Cruise Critic. I’d like to thank everyone in advance for reading it. I have a lot to tell & I am going to try to give details on everything so please bare with me as I’m not sure how long winded this review might be. I took over 700 pictures and will post a lot of them here. This trip was booked back in January and the majority of us used our reward points to pay for it. Cruise Critic doesn’t allow me to say what kind of points / miles we used.

We sailed the Ruby Princess roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale on November 11, 2012. Ports of call were Princess Cays, St. Maarten, St. Thomas & Grand Turk.

 

Meet Us:

• Nathaniel (Me, 30) 5th cruise 2nd with Princess (Grand), 3 Carnival.

• David aka Nooch (36), my cruise roommate, jokester and good friend to all. 4th cruise 2nd with Princess (Grand), 2 Carnival

• Aaron (Brother, 33) 7th cruise, 3rd with Princess (Emerald, Grand), 4 Carnival

• Allison (Sister-in-Law, 34) 8th cruise, 3rd with Princess (Emerald, Grand), 5 Carnival

• Caleigh (Aaron & Allison’s daughter 11 months old)

• Jodi (Allison’s sister, 38) 2nd cruise, 1st with Princess

• Felicia (Jodi’s friend) 2nd cruise, 1st with Princess

 

Itinerary: 7 Day Eastern Caribbean

Fri Nov 9 – Fly from Toronto to Miami

Sat Nov 10 – Day in Ft. Lauderdale

Sun Nov 11 – Embark Ruby Princess

Mon Nov 12 – Princess Cays

Tues Nov 13 – Sea Day (Formal Night)

Weds Nov 14 – St. Maarten

Thurs Nov 15 – St. Thomas (Formal Night)

Fri Nov 16 – Grand Turk

Sat Nov 17 – Sea Day

Sun Nov 18 – Disembark :( / Day in Ft. Lauderdale

Mon Nov 19 – Fly home to Toronto

 

Here’s a “brief” review before I get into the actual day-by-day report…

 

CABINS: We had 3 side-by-side cabins on Caribe deck (deck 10). These Cabins were all category BA with extended balconies. Cabins were located mid-ship port side, numbers 504,506 & 510. We had the same category on our last ship and loved the extended balcony, which is why we booked them again. We also like mid-ship because you don’t feel the ship moving as much. The cabins are a couple feet smaller than standard balcony cabins because of the bigger balcony. You really can’t notice the difference though. On the balcony there are 4 chairs, 2 of which can be reclined and a small table. On the first day our room steward, Noel, opened the doors between our balconies. There are hooks to keep the doors open. Some other ships I’ve been on haven’t had hooks and the doors would flop around unless you put a chair or something in front of it.

Like every cabin I’ve ever stayed in the shower is nice & tiny. I do like that the curtain curves around the shower instead of straight across. Gives you a couple extra inches to move around. The TV in the room is a 26 inch (I think) flat screen. There is a small refrigerator in the room, which comes stocked with a 1.5 litre bottle of water and a few cans of pop (soda for Americans). These will cost you money if you consume them, even if you do buy the pop/soda package.

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FOOD & RESTAURANTS:

Main Dining Room: Our dinners were scheduled at 8:30pm in the Da Vinci Dining Room on Fiesta Deck (deck 6). We normally like the late seating but 8:30 was really late. Normally we get 8pm. The first night we got there for 8:30 and noticed a lot of tables were already filled with people who had 8 & 8:15 seatings. Service was very slow, nothing like I’ve ever experienced before. Nobody took our drink orders for about 20 minutes and food came out extremely slow. We were in the dining room for over 2 hours and didn’t even have dessert yet at the 2 hour mark. We also normally have a waiter and an assistant/junior waiter. We never saw the assistant once at our table. Our waiter had to bring and clear the dishes and the dishes sometimes sat at the table for a long time before they were cleared. The reason for this was a combination of the galley being too busy and short staff in our dining room. There was a group of about 900 travel agents from Expedia Cruise Ship Centers on their annual conference eating in Michaelangelo’s at the same time as us. With them were executives from some of the other big cruise lines. Because of this, Princess had taken some staff from our dining room and placed them in Michaelangelo. Our headwaiter (Flaveau) also told us that the dining rooms usually have staggered dining times, but this trip they were at the same time do to everyone in the conference having the late seating. We didn’t blame our waiter one bit. Russell was fantastic. After talking to Flaveau we never had this problem again and our assistant waiter, Joel, was with us for the remainder of the cruise. We also went to the MDR for 8pm for the remainder of the trip.

The food in the dining room wasn’t as good as it had been in the past. But, I am not a picky eater at all so for me everything tasted great, just not as good as it has been. We had a couple pickier eaters with us and they found some things they didn’t like, but I’m chalking that up to pickiness.

Formal nights were Tuesday (Sea day) and Thursday (St. Thomas). Escargot and lobster were both served on the 2nd formal night.

 

Crown Grill: $25 per person. Caleigh was free (she didn’t eat anything anyway). Crown Grill is located on the Promeade Deck (Deck 7) Starboard, aft. We always go to the MDR for dinner but this trip we decided to try the Crown Grill. We were not disappointed. I ordered a bottle of wine, Riesling Piesporter. The bottle was $27, which is the same as in the MDR. The food here was incredible, the best I’ve ever had on a cruise. Instead of being prepared ahead of time like the MDR everything in the CG is prepared to order. We made reservations on the first day for Wednesday’s dinner. The dinner is set up the same way as in the MDR where you can order whatever you want off the menu and however much you want. For appetizers I had Seared Pacific Scallops with Smoky Bacon Crisps on a Truffled Potato Confit. I also had the Lobster Cake. Both were FANtastic. Other apps ordered around the table were the Black & Blue Onion Soup (French Onion), Shrimp & Pancetta Bisque and Black Tiger Prawns. As an in between apps & entrees Dave & I both ordered the Prince Edward Mussel Pot. This had to be the biggest pot of mussels I’ve ever had. As an entrée I had the Rib-Eye (14 ounces). It was the best steak I can remember eating in a loooong time. For dessert we all had the The Crown Dependence, which is a sampling of the 5 desserts on the menu. Molten Dutch Chocolate Fudge Obsession (pretty much the same as the warm chocolate melting cake on Carnival), Wild Berry and Apple Cobbler, Lemon Meringue Pudding Tart, Seven Layer S’mores Stack and Caramel Cheesecake Parfait.

Overall the Crown Grill was an amazing experience. The food was more than a 10 out of 10. Our waiter Daniel was really good and pretty funny. I would definitely recommend this restaurant.

Crown Grill Menu: http://cruiseweb.com/princess-imagelibrary/princess-CrownGrillSampleMenu.pdf

 

Horizon Court, Lido Deck Food & International Cafe:

Horizon Court is the buffet on Lido Deck (deck 15). We went there for breakfast and lunch most days. Food is your typical buffet style food. Mass-produced food made for a couple thousand people at once. Like I said earlier I’m not a picky eater so for me everything I had was good. For breakfast you can have an omelet or other eggs made to order. If you want egg whites you can ask at the omelet station. Food mainly stayed the same on a daily basis with some exceptions. For breakfast there were eggs everyday with a separate bowl that changed each day. One day it would be eggs with cheese another day it would have ham. Your other basics of bacon, sausages, bagels, toast, oatmeal, French toast, pancakes and fruit were available on a daily basis. Lunch at Horizon Court was also your basic buffet foods. Still good though. Pastas, potatoes, different meats, sandwiches, soups, and for desert, fruits & pastries were all available at lunchtime.

Just forward of Neptune’s Reef Pool is the Grill. There you can get hamburgers (cheese), hotdogs, sausages and chicken sandwiches. The Pizzeria and ice cream bar are located side-by-side on the port side of Lido deck between the two main pools. At the ice cream bar you can get chocolate, vanilla or a twist in a cone or cup. You can also get milkshakes with whipped cream. At the Pizzeria, everyday they have cheese, pepperoni and they have a specialty pizza which changes everyday.

The International Café is located in the Piazza on Plaza Deck (deck 5). I went there a few times and every time there was a big selection of salads, sandwiches, pastries, desserts & everyday there was a different soup option. During the day they also had a girl walking around serving milk and cookies. I thought that was a nice little touch. Everything I ate was fantastic!

 

Pub Lunch: The Pub Lunch was served on both Sea Days in the Wheelhouse Bar on Promenade Deck (deck 7 just forward of the Piazza) from 11:30am – 2:30pm. We went to the lunch on the first sea day. The menu is written on a small chalkboard sitting on every table. Choices were Fish & Chips, Bangers & Mash, Ploughman's Lunch and Steak & Kidney Pie. There is only 1 dessert and it was Bread & Butter Pudding. I had the fish & chips, which were very good. The fish is Cod. We didn’t go to the second lunch so I don’t know what was served then. On my last cruise they had Breaded Prawns & Chips, Chicken Curry, Scotch & Egg and a Sherry Trifle for desert. I’m thinking the menu on the second day was something similar to that.

 

ENTERTAINMENT: Ron Goodman was the cruise director on our ship and he was very good. Much better than Billy London who we had on our last cruise. I saw Ron out around the ship and talked to him a couple times. The “Wake Show” in the morning, which he co-hosted with deputy cruise director Elaine, was very funny. The 2 of them seem to work very well together.

It always seemed as there was something going on. The Patters were packed with activities for all ages and tastes. I only saw 1 of the 3 production shows (Welcome Aboard Show). It was just ok. I was expecting them to sing something that said welcome aboard but it was just 3 or 4 random songs with dancing. Other shows I saw were Comedians Gary Delana (night 2) and Al Katz (night 7). Both were very funny. I missed Al Katz’s first show on night 6, after seeing the second one I’m sure the first show was just as funny. Magician David Cats performed 2 shows, 1 Illusions show on night 4 and an “up close & personal” slight of hand show on night 6. I saw the 2nd show, which was pretty good. He only performed 4 tricks though. Throughout most days and evenings there were different little performers in the Piazza. There were Flamenco dancers, singers and “Acts of Strength”. The Ultimate Deck Party was on night 4. On night 6 I watched the International Crew Show featuring crew members signing and dancing. A couple of the singers were very good. The last act was “If I Were Not Upon the Sea”. I’ve seen the skit performed on every cruise, but there is still something that is just so funny about it that I keep going back to see it.

 

EMBARKATION & DEBARKATION: Both embarkation & debarkation were a breeze for us. I’ll explain more in my day-to-day report but from curbside to gangway embarkation was about 20 minutes. We boarded at 12:45pm. Debarking was very quick as well. We had special assistance for debarkation, the reason, I will explain later.

 

PRE & POST ACCOMADATIONS: For 2 night before and 1 night after the cruise we stayed at the Fort Lauderdale Marriott North. We paid $164 for first 2 nights and $79 for the 1 night post cruise. Aaron & Dave both work for a big TA company so we were able to get a TA rate. Location wasn’t terrible. It’s about 20 minutes from the Ft. Lauderdale airport. The lobby was very nice and had 2 computers to use for printing directions, boarding passes, luggage tags or just checking your e-mail or facebook. The hotel has free wifi in guest rooms. I was a little disappointed there was no continental breakfast but that’s not the end of the world. The rooms were clean and have pretty big safes. Jodi & Felecia’s safe would not open one night and hotel staff had to break into it. They also complained their room smelled a little musty. Aaron & Allision’s room had brown water come out of the tap once. Because of this they comped one night for each of our 3 rooms. It was very nice as I didn’t have any problems with my room. The rooms do not include refrigerators but we had requested one for A&A’s room because of the baby. It was a small fridge the same size as on the ship. They also brought up a crib for Caleigh. The crib looked like a small jail. It was pretty funny. Overall I didn’t mind the hotel, but we most likely won’t be staying there again.

 

PORTS OF CALL:

Princess Cays: We pulled into Princess Cays at 9am. At 9:30 we went to Michaelangelo’s dining room to get a tender ticket. We were tender # 6. We waited no more than 10 minutes before our number was called to go to the tenders on deck 4. Their system is a little flawed as they don’t take or look at your ticket before boarding the tender. This means anyone can just cut in line. We had rented 2 clamshells for the day. These came in very handy during the massive downpour of rain we were hit with. When it wasn’t raining I walked around the beach area a bit and we went swimming. When swimming I recommend wearing water shoes as there are a lot of rocks on the sea floor. The buffet on the island had salad, pasta, chicken, burgers and fruit. Pretty much the same as on the ship.

 

St. Maarten: The ship arrived right on time at 10am. Once off the ship if you want to go anywhere off the pier you have to take a water taxi to the main beach & shopping area. The cost for an all day pass is $7. This means if you buy something you can bring it back to the ship and then go back to the beach. A one way fare, why would you only go one way?, is $5. Children under the age of 3 are free. We walked around the shopping area for a while. Dave bought a John Hardy bracelet at Art of Time and the girls bought some new charms at the Pandora store. The last time we were in St. Maarten Aaron, Allison & my Mum each bought Phillip Stein watches at Joe’s Jewelers. My Mum also bought blue diamond earrings and a sapphire bracelet. I had also bought a white gold, black onyx & diamond bracelet at Venetian Jewellers. After we finished shopping everyone headed back to the ship except Felecia & I. We went to the beach. The water was very warm and the sun was shining bright. We paid $10 for 2 loungers and an umbrella.

 

St. Thomas: We arrived in St. Thomas at 7am. I was still sleeping. We docked at Crown bay as Princess has a contract to dock their ships there. At Crown Bay there are a few jewellery stores and souvenir shops. I like the Havensite pier better as there are more stores and things to do at the pier. Felecia & I were the only ones in our group to get off the ship. After doing some research on CC and talking to some crew members I decided Emerald Beach was the place to go. We got off at 10:30 and walked 2 minutes to the taxis. We got an open air taxi and asked him to take us to Emerald Beach. It was only the 2 of us in the taxi and the ride cost $4 per person. All taxi fares are regulated in St. Thomas so you won’t get ripped off. We were brought to the Best Western Emerald Beach Resort. It was a lot better than Magens Bay where there are always so many people. We paid $20 for 2 loungers under a palapa umbrella. Loungers alone are $7 each. The beach is big and the water was absolutely beautiful. There is a beach bar at the hotel if you want a drink or some food. When we were ready to go back to the ship there were a few taxis waiting outside the hotel. Fare again was $4.

 

Grand Turk: The ship pulled alongside the pier just before 12:30. It was announced if you don’t have an excursion booked they request you wait until 1pm to get off, as the gangway will be too busy. We all got off the ship around 1:30. We found some loungers at the beach and went in the water. There were some small rocks under the water that I nailed my feet on a couple times. OUCH! We snorkeled out as far as we were allowed and you can see where the sea floor was dredged to allow for the ships to pull in. The drop off is huge. Dave & I wanted to try some local food so we walked down to a bar on the beach called The Local Village. We had Conch Fritters, Jerk Chicken and some local beer. The bar also had free wifi and yes, I updated my facebook status.

 

Norovirus: On Friday after we returned to the ship from Grand Turk Caleigh wasn’t feeling too well. She had thrown up a couple times over a few hour span. We thought it was because she may have got some salt water in her mouth. When waking up on Saturday morning Allison was feeling really sick. A little while later she called the ship’s doctor. A nurse came to the room and diagnosed her with Noro. Allison had been quarantined to her room for 24 hours and in this case that was until the end of the cruise. Allison & Aaron were not allowed to put their luggage in the hallway Saturday night. They were told by guest services that someone would come to their room Sunday morning around 9:30 to assist them off the ship. Because there were 3 rooms traveling together passenger services changed the debark times of our other cabins so we can all walk off at the same time. When the 2 ladies from the port authority came to see us off the ship I asked one of them how many cases of Noro were reported. She said a total of 2 cases were reported on our sailing.

 

SUMMARY: We had a fantastic time! I thought going with an 11 month old wouldn’t be good but she was sooo good. The ship was in great shape and all of the crew were amazing!

We put in our future cruise credit but I don’t know when I’m going to go on another Princess Cruise. On the 2 Princess ships I’ve been on have had an average passenger age of 50 or over. I’m looking for more people my age and more fun activities along with more ship board activities. I’ve never been on Royal Caribbean and we are booked on the Oasis. From all I’ve seen and read about RCI I think I’m going to want to go on a lot of RCI cruises after we sail the big girl. I’ll come back at some point because I want to check out the new Royal and/or Regal ships.

 

I’m going to start posting the day-by-day report and if anyone has any questions along the way please ask and I’ll try to answer them in a timely fashion.

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FOOD & RESTAURANTS:

Main Dining Room: Our dinners were scheduled at 8:30pm in the Da Vinci Dining Room on Fiesta Deck (deck 6). We normally like the late seating but 8:30 was really late. Normally we get 8pm. The first night we got there for 8:30 and noticed a lot of tables were already filled with people who had 8 & 8:15 seatings. Service was very slow, nothing like I’ve ever experienced before. Nobody took our drink orders for about 20 minutes and food came out extremely slow. We were in the dining room for over 2 hours and didn’t even have dessert yet at the 2 hour mark. We also normally have a waiter and an assistant/junior waiter. We never saw the assistant once at our table. Our waiter had to bring and clear the dishes and the dishes sometimes sat at the table for a long time before they were cleared. The reason for this was a combination of the galley being too busy and short staff in our dining room. There was a group of about 900 travel agents from Expedia Cruise Ship Centers on their annual conference eating in Michaelangelo’s at the same time as us. With them were executives from some of the other big cruise lines. Because of this, Princess had taken some staff from our dining room and placed them in Michaelangelo. Our headwaiter (Flaveau) also told us that the dining rooms usually have staggered dining times, but this trip they were at the same time do to everyone in the conference having the late seating. We didn’t blame our waiter one bit. Russell was fantastic. After talking to Flaveau we never had this problem again and our assistant waiter, Joel, was with us for the remainder of the cruise. We also went to the MDR for 8pm for the remainder of the trip.

 

I am puzzed by a couple of items.

 

Usually the traditional late seating is in the Botticelli dining room at the aft of the ship on deck 6. So for your cruise, traditional late seating was in Da Vinci?

 

Also, I have never seen the traditional late seating being divided into three different times. Do you know if this was unusual for your trip?

 

The Princess dining rooms are sized to hold less than 500 passengers at one time. I have no idea how 900 people from a group could be seated in Michaelangelo’s at the same time.

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So sorry that the little one got sick:( I hope she's feeling better now. I was also on this sailing and around day 3 they started removing utensils from the tables in the buffet as well as pumping condiments at the grill. I knew this was a sign of noro on the ship and asked about it. They told me that they were at code yellow...no idea what that means in terms of how many sick people but I would have thought it had to more than 2! I was travelling with my 2 yr old and was really worried about her getting sick so I ended up being the crazy lady with the wet ones! Glad you enjoyed your trip.

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I am puzzed by a couple of items.

 

Usually the traditional late seating is in the Botticelli dining room at the aft of the ship on deck 6. So for your cruise, traditional late seating was in Da Vinci?

 

Also, I have never seen the traditional late seating being divided into three different times. Do you know if this was unusual for your trip?

 

The Princess dining rooms are sized to hold less than 500 passengers at one time. I have no idea how 900 people from a group could be seated in Michaelangelo’s at the same time.

 

From what the head waiter told us is that everything got moved around for our cruise because of the conference. The capacity in the dining room is something I am not aware of. If you are correct then I am not sure what else was going on.

 

 

So sorry that the little one got sick:( I hope she's feeling better now. I was also on this sailing and around day 3 they started removing utensils from the tables in the buffet as well as pumping condiments at the grill. I knew this was a sign of noro on the ship and asked about it. They told me that they were at code yellow...no idea what that means in terms of how many sick people but I would have thought it had to more than 2! I was travelling with my 2 yr old and was really worried about her getting sick so I ended up being the crazy lady with the wet ones! Glad you enjoyed your trip.

 

I did notice that there were more people in the buffet handing you plates and cutlery along with more cleaning than normal all around the ship. At the time I just figured they wanted to keep the ship nice and clean. Since coming home the virus spread like wild fire through our family. Everyone having flu like symptoms for approx. 24 hours. Its crazy how fast it spreads.

 

Nathaniel

Edited by Cupcrazy

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Jodi & Felicia booked their flights after the rest of us so they had an earlier flight out. The rest of us were on a flight out of Toronto leaving at 10:45am. We were all going to meet at the airport for 8am. I was all packed up and ready to go. I use a duffle bag instead of a regular suitcase because it weighs nothing to begin with. It would be nice if it had wheels but that would just add weight. Because you're only allowed 50 pounds I want to maximize what I can take with me. I was way under, only 38 pounds.

 

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That's where the easy morning to an end. My Mom picked me up at 7 and we were on our way. We drove about 2 blocks when her car decided now would be a good time to over heat. Thankfully we were close to my condo. After pulling over and waiting for the car to cool down, we drove back to my place and took my car. She now had 2 weeks to use my car and get her's fixed. I found out when I came home it cost her $1500. OUCH!

Aaron, Allison, Caleigh & David all got there early and checked in before me. Because of traffic I ended up getting to the airport about 10 minutes after 8. I checked in and just as I was about to go through US customs I got a call from Aaron saying they forgot their diaper bag at home. My dad, who had driven them to the airport, sped to their house to get the bag. Because I hadn't gone through customs yet I was able to wait in the check in area. I waited there for almost an hour & a half until he got there with it at 9:40. Thankfully customs wasn't busy and I was able to fly though and get to the gate about 15 minutes before boarding.

 

The flight was good. We took off a couple minutes late and still got to Miami earlier than expected. Caleigh was great flyer, she slept the entire flight.

 

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We arrived in Miami at 1:43 and went to collect our luggage.

 

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We then walked through the airport to the rental car facility. It's a bit of a hike up an elevator, through some tunnels with moving walkways and a monorail. We rented a mini van from Dollar.

 

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We stuffed it full with our luggage. Aaron & Allison had decided to rent a child seat instead of bringing their own. They won't be doing that again. Dollar had some pretty sketchy car seats. After finding one that was for Caleigh's size they figured out to install it, which took a while, and we were finally ready to leave the airport.

 

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Our hotel, Ft. Lauderdale Marriott North - 6650 North Andrews Avenue, took us about 45 minutes to drive to straight up I-95. We hit the start of rush hour so there was a bit of traffic.

 

We passed the Marriott Springhill Suites in where we stayed last time we were in Ft. Lauderdale. We enjoyed this hotel much better than the Marriott North but we couldn't get a good rate. The Springhill suites are located close to the Ft. Lauderdale airport in Dania Beach.

 

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We also passed the Ft. Lauderdale airport along the way.

 

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Caleigh slept the whole ride. In this picture it looks like the strap is choking her but I assure you its not.

 

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The hotel from the highway

 

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When we pulled up to the hotel there was a cute little cat under a car

 

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Lobby

 

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Every day in the lobby there was flavoured water available for guests. They have 2 flavours each day. This picture has mint & lemon and lemon & lime. They also had melon (cantaloupe & honeydew), apple, orange and I can't remember any others.

 

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My Room

 

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The balcony isn't very big and could use a coat of paint.

 

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One of our other rooms had a view of the pool, kind of.

 

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On the side of the tv there are many different inputs. If you are travelling with kids you can hook up a dvd player or a gaming system.

 

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The bedside clock radio has an iPod dock.

 

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That night we went to Joe's Crab Shack for dinner. The girl at the front desk of the hotel told us it was 20 minutes away. The restaurant was more than 30 minutes away and for the rest of the trip the joke was everything is 20 minutes away.

 

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There was a little playground outside the restaurant that looked like fun so Felicia & I decided to go down the slide.

 

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Saturday morning we went to IHOP for breakfast and then spent the day shopping. Driving around to different stores we all like and we ended up at Sawgrass.

 

I guess I'm not sophisticated enough, because I didn't go in.

 

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I guess you never know when you're going to need to take a test in a hurry.

 

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Now that's what I call a deal.

 

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The original plan for the night was supposed to be Aaron, David and I going to see the Boston Bruins play the Florida Panthers at the BB&T Center across the street from Sawgrass while the girls shop and go to the Cheesecake Factory. Because of the NHL lockout the game was cancelled. We all ended up shopping and going for dinner at the Cheesecake Factory.

 

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Cheesecake Factory serves such huge portions that I never have room for a slice of cake at the restaurant. So why not bring a slice back to the hotel.

 

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Next up: Embarkation!

Edited by Cupcrazy

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We were in A509 on deck 12 - Aloha. We called first thing Monday morning for the Crown Grill. We were celebrating our 40th anniversary which was 11/11 so we wanted to go out for a steak dinner sometime during the week. (or oot for a steak dinner for you Canadians.:) They told us the Crown Grill was booked solid for the entire week. Say what???? At dinner one of our table mates that had the same fate said that the Expedia people that were having a big meeting or something had hogged the Crown Grill for the week. So the rest of us got screwed. We were really disappointed. The Expedia people seemed to take over the ship

 

No wine package available in the MDR. No Towel animals in the room. I know it's trivial, but its something i've grown to expect on a cruise.

 

The singers and dancers were superb. My fellow passengers should have given them a standing O more than once.

 

One of the highlights of the cruise was Saturday night was smoking a cigar with Al Katz (the comedian) in the Speakeasy cigar lounge after his show. We smoked and talked for about a half hour. He really was a cool guy. Wife and I enjoyed his show earlier.

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We were in A509 on deck 12 - Aloha. We called first thing Monday morning for the Crown Grill. We were celebrating our 40th anniversary which was 11/11 so we wanted to go out for a steak dinner sometime during the week. (or oot for a steak dinner for you Canadians.:) They told us the Crown Grill was booked solid for the entire week. Say what???? At dinner one of our table mates that had the same fate said that the Expedia people that were having a big meeting or something had hogged the Crown Grill for the week. So the rest of us got screwed. We were really disappointed. The Expedia people seemed to take over the ship

 

No wine package available in the MDR. No Towel animals in the room. I know it's trivial, but its something i've grown to expect on a cruise.

 

The singers and dancers were superb. My fellow passengers should have given them a standing O more than once.

 

One of the highlights of the cruise was Saturday night was smoking a cigar with Al Katz (the comedian) in the Speakeasy cigar lounge after his show. We smoked and talked for about a half hour. He really was a cool guy. Wife and I enjoyed his show earlier.

 

First of all Happy Anniversary!

We booked our next cruise through someone in the Expedia group and he was on this cruise too. We were told ahead of time the specialty restaurants will most likely be booked every night because of them. That's why we booked it right when we got onboard. When we were eating in the Crown Grill there were a bunch of empty tables. We were told by our waiter, they can't fill the restaurant at all times because all the food is cooked to order. While we were eating, someone went to the host and wanted to eat there that night. The host said it was all booked up. The passenger didn't like that answer. He was irate, yelling at the host saying there were a bunch of empty tables.

 

On the 2 cruises I've taken with Princess I've never seen a towel animal. Someone can correct me if I'm wrong but I don't believe Princess does towel animals.

 

Al Katz was hilarious. I really enjoyed his comedy.

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On the 2 cruises I've taken with Princess I've never seen a towel animal. Someone can correct me if I'm wrong but I don't believe Princess does towel animals.

 

You are correct. Princess does not do towel animals, but sometimes some of the cabin stewards know how and will do them if requested.

 

Although towel animals are not a Princess feature, sometimes they do offer a demonstration of how to make them.

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On the 2 cruises I've taken with Princess I've never seen a towel animal. Someone can correct me if I'm wrong but I don't believe Princess does towel animals.

 

Once in awhile you will find a Steward that has the knowledge and will create one. Most of the time not. :)

Edited by highheel girl

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On the 2 cruises I've taken with Princess I've never seen a towel animal. Someone can correct me if I'm wrong but I don't believe Princess does towel animals.

 

We were on a Princess cruise last year with our 26 y/o DD and she was looking for towel animals. We asked the room steward and he said they do them for the rooms with kids in them. We asked him to do one for our daughters room and she had towel animals the rest of the cruise.

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Really loving your review, and the pictures tell a story of their own. Waiting for more, more, more.

 

What a bummer you guys were not able to go to the game. Maybe you'll have better luck during our sailing.

 

I love that you and Felicia let the inner kid come out (on the slide). That would be something that I'd do, while DH waited for me with a scarlet face.

 

Debi

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Thanks for the detailed review. We are going on the 12.16.12 cruise. I look forward to reading about the rest of the cruise.

 

Hey my family will be on this cruise too! Can't wait. This will be our 1st Princess cruise.

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Oh Happy Day! Finally the day we'd been waiting on for so long had arrived. We woke up to a bright sunny day in South Florida.

Because we had rented 2 cars (Grand Caravan & Toyota Camry) and had a lot of luggage between all of us we decided to get an early start to the day. We drove both cars to Port Everglades, Terminal 2, for 10:45am and dropped off our luggage along with Allison, Caleigh & Jodi. Aaron & Dave and Felicia & I then went to return the rentals. The van had to be returned to Dollar which had a location close to the port. Felicia & I picked up Aaron & David from there and we all drove to the Ft. Lauderdale airport, 5 minutes away, to return the 2nd car to Alamo.

The good thing about renting a car from the airport is they have free shuttle buses that take you from the rental facility to the port. We must have just missed a shuttle as we were the only ones in line for a couple minutes. We had to wait about 15-20 minutes for the next shuttle to arrive. The driver requested to see everyone's rental papers as that shuttle was only for Alamo & National customers. There ended up being about 15 people on our shuttle.

The whole drive from dropping them off at the port to getting back to the port was about an hour & a half. We got back to ship at approx 12:15 and headed into the terminal. There was basically no lineup at security and then about an 10 minute wait in line to check in. It was then up an escalator and onto the gangway. It took us 20 minutes from entering the terminal to boarding the ship.

The one thing I noticed was instead of taking your picture for your cruise card at check in they did it as you boarded the ship. I'd never seen that before.

 

First glance at Port Everglades (Allure of the Seas & the candy cane smoke stacks)

 

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Allure is a BIG lady

 

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Map of Port Everglades

Ruby Princess - Terminal 2

Coral Princess - Terminal 4

Allure of the Seas - Terminal 18

Carnival Freedom - Terminal 24

Nieuw Amsterdam - Terminal 26 (I think)

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First sight of the Ruby

 

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Coral Princess beside us

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Waiting for the shuttle at the the airport rental facility. I forgot to take a picture of the actual shuttle bus.

 

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Loving your review thus far. Good details, good spelling/grammar (which makes it easier to read for many of us), great photos. Can't wait to see more. And it's so much better than this other guy's review (he was posting drips of non-info, and then when others were commenting that they were waiting for the actual review, he starts insulting them...I gave up reading after the first page).

 

I was so glad to see that there's still made-to-order omelets in the Horizon. I had read in someone else's thread, maybe a few months ago, that this special service was no longer available -- and was dreading telling my hubby, as he's been getting his specially made omelets for the past two cruises. So hopefully on our upcoming cruise on a different ship, he won't be disappointed.

 

Sorry to hear that your ship was taken over by the Expedia group. It's ridiculous that the dining should be impacted, including the odd times and stealing of staff to take care of this group. I imagine some of the passengers will complain about this (and I wouldn't blame them). On one of our cruises, there was two groups that I was aware of (a travel association -- only knew about this from seeing signs on individual cabin doors -- and a cardiac technology conference -- I think they took over a lounge one or two days for their meetings, but I don't think anyone really cared, and I imagine if anyone had heart problems on the cruise, there were plenty of doctors and machines).

 

I don't remember in ten cruises on Carnival and Princess ever having my photo, for embedding into the cabin card, taken at the check in desk. Always at the entrance of the ship. We haven't had towel animals in our four Princess cruises, but that's okay. Our last cabin steward would leave a wrapped plate with a muffin or cookies on our desk on many a day, without asking. Supposedly for our teen, but most of the time, I took care of the goodies.:)

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Loving your review thus far. Good details' date=' good spelling/grammar (which makes it easier to read for many of us), great photos. Can't wait to see more. And it's so much better than this other guy's review (he was posting drips of non-info, and then when others were commenting that they were waiting for the actual review, he starts insulting them...I gave up reading after the first page).

 

I was so glad to see that there's still made-to-order omelets in the Horizon. I had read in someone else's thread, maybe a few months ago, that this special service was no longer available -- and was dreading telling my hubby, as he's been getting his specially made omelets for the past two cruises. So hopefully on our upcoming cruise on a different ship, he won't be disappointed.

 

Sorry to hear that your ship was taken over by the Expedia group. It's ridiculous that the dining should be impacted, including the odd times and stealing of staff to take care of this group. I imagine some of the passengers will complain about this (and I wouldn't blame them). On one of our cruises, there was two groups that I was aware of (a travel association -- only knew about this from seeing signs on individual cabin doors -- and a cardiac technology conference -- I think they took over a lounge one or two days for their meetings, but I don't think anyone really cared, and I imagine if anyone had heart problems on the cruise, there were plenty of doctors and machines).

 

I don't remember in ten cruises on Carnival and Princess ever having my photo, for embedding into the cabin card, taken at the check in desk. Always at the entrance of the ship. We haven't had towel animals in our four Princess cruises, but that's okay. Our last cabin steward would leave a wrapped plate with a muffin or cookies on our desk on many a day, without asking. Supposedly for our teen, but most of the time, I took care of the goodies.:)[/quote']

 

Patty,

Thank you for the kind words. I don't like reading reviews, or anything for that matter, with bad spelling or grammar. Especially when there is spell check. The Expedia group didn't really take over the ship. After the first night in the MDR we didn't have any other problems. Princess wanted to treat them really well because the TAs sell their cruises. On sea days the group had their conference so the pools weren't as full as normal.

My brother loves the made to order omelettes. Like your husband he would have been a little upset if he couldn't get them anymore. Not many people know about them because its not an actual station. You have to ask one of the cooks to make it. But most of the time there was someone standing there taking orders.

 

Nathaniel

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I forgot to mention a funny moment when the shuttle arrived. The driver takes everyone's luggage and puts it on the bus so you don't have to. When she got to us she said "Wow, you guys are traveling light". We told her we already dropped off our luggage at the port. She said "Cheaters!". She was joking around but I think she thought we wouldn't tip her. We still did.

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After boarding we went to our cabins C504, C506, C510 mid-ship port side to drop off our carry on items. While there I took a bunch of pictures of the cabin.

 

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DSC05823.jpg

 

We met our room steward Noel. He was great to us the whole trip and immediately unlocked the doors between each of our balconies. There are hooks to keep the doors open. Some other ships I’ve been on haven’t had hooks and the doors would flop around unless you put a chair or something in front of it.

 

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The cabins below us had regular sized balconies and stick out past ours. Part of our balconies stick out past the balconies above us. Not much privacy.

 

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After dropping our stuff off in the cabins we went up to Lido Deck to grab some lunch in Horizon Court (buffet). The Muster Drill was at 3:15. We were in station D which was in the Explorers Lounge and Crown Grill along Promenade Deck. It took a few minutes until everyone arrived. It was very crowded and there were no seats anywhere. We ended up standing outside the Crown Grill side-by-side in 3 rows. They then had to go around scanning everyone's cruise card to make sure everyone was there and in the correct station. The scanning of everyone's cards seems like a pretty tedious process. The drill began and they went through emergency procedures and how to put your life vest on. The whole thing probably took about 30 minutes give or take a couple.

 

After the Drill we all headed down to the cabins to put our life vests away and get ready for sail away. Everyone decided to watch sail away from the balconies. I wanted to be where there was a little more action so I walked around Lido Deck. I Went up to Deck 16 forward in front of the gym. There were 2 younger couples from Utah I started talking to. It was their first cruise. While standing there they noticed a couple people below us standing on top of the bridge. One of them asked how to get there. I said I was about to head there myself and would show them.

 

There is a secret door that leads you out above the bridge. Go to Lido Deck (15) and go all the way forward past the cabins. You will see a door. Go through the door at the end of the hallway then there will be another door that leads to a few steps leading to this deck. This is great place to be for sailaway. Most of the time the doors are locked while at sea because it is too windy. While I was up there watching our sailaway it was extremely windy. I can only imagine how much worse it would be in open water.

 

You can partially see the deck above the bridge in this picture

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The Hyatt, site of the Ft. Lauderdale Webcam

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This boat was getting to close to our ship so the Police boat had to swoop in and yell over the loud speaker to move.

 

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Edited by Cupcrazy

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Another boat came too close to us. This time they came within a few meters of the ship. The Police really yelled at these guys.

 

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Edited by Cupcrazy

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The crew pool is visible from above the bridge

 

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Looking down the port side of the ship from over the wing of the bridge

 

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Coral Princess

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Allure of the Seas

 

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