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Bimmer09

Ruby Princess photo review Jan 13 to 20,2013

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Better late than never!

 

This review will be long-no-even longer. It may take longer than the 7 day cruise as I am back in the real world of work and time constraints (and planning for my next cruise,but, perhaps more of that later....

 

Before I begin I want to thank the two women who helped me immeasurably through the process of learning to work my new computer (Macbook) and pulled me in off the window ledge when I was getting frustrated learning how to

embed photos in my rivetting text/inane babble (you be the judge): Pam from CA known to this board and my constant traveling companion (TC) Carol from Chicago. Ladies my thanks!

 

The 7 (measly) days Ruby cruise to the Eastern Caribbean was planned as our plane took off from Anchorage last August, following an amazing Alaskan cruise on my (currently) favorite tub, er, sorry-ship, the Diamond Princess.

 

My Shipmate phone app kept a countdown as the days ticked by and the anticipation built until the day finally dawned when we left the cold of a Chicago winter and flew to Ft. Lauderdale for a meeting with the Ruby Princess.

 

After a 20 minute, $20 ride in FL's dirtiest cab (731 if you want to book it)

we arrived at the Oasis of fun in the sun that is the Marriott Harbor Beach hotel.

 

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We booked this hotel as it is right on the beach and can afford a view of the ships in harbor from a high room and you can watch the ships cast off and sail out of the channel into the Atlantic. It also has a couple of restaurants which feature outdoor dining. It also has a huge amount of outdoor space and coming from a polar climate we wanted to be outdoors as much as possible while we waited for the Ruby to sail back from Grand Turk to pick us up and help us Escape Completely.

 

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Being a boat-nerd, son of a ship's captain and having 49 cruises under my belt,most of them as a musician on the Song of Norway in the mid-80's there was no doubt where I was going to be at 4pm that sunny Saturday, January 12th. There was a rock with my name on it at the exit of the Port Everglades channel. Carol and I trudged across the sand for half a mile,scattering Sandpipers as we went, so that I could videotape and photograph the ships as they left port. Tomorrow it would be our turn....

 

If you like to look at cruise ships prepare to drool (but not over your keyboard-been there, done that and the old Dell never worked the same afterwards)

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I almost had to look away as the Grand has long been shorn of my beloved Skywalkers...but I knew that the Caribbean Princess would not be far behind so I took it like a man and sobbed quietly....

 

I tune into the P.E webcam every weekend-a fabulous resource-but nothing beats being this close to the ships.

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I noticed that a man dressed in black on the rocks had turned away when the Carnival Freedom passed and I called over to ask him why..."Joe Farcus" was his response and being familiar with Mr Farcus' interior designs for Carnival I understood completely and nodded my head.

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Now THAT'S a Skywalkers!!

 

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Allure/Oasis, magnificent feats of engineering, but not my kind of ship.

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Sitting on the rocks trying to take photos and videos looking into the sun, with the occasional rogue wave splashing me and my camera gear sure works up an appetite for food and for comfort. Both were a long walk back on the beach.

There was still a Holland America ship to come out (Eurodam, I think) and the Queen Elizabeth but she showed no signs of being in any hurry. I imagine the Captain was watching Downton Abbey on the telly after a dinner of boiled mutton and was in no rush.

 

I couldn't wait for him. I had already photographed both ships a year prior when I had sailed on the Crown Princess to the Southern Caribbean.

 

So here's the last ship of the day and it's a beauty.....

 

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Driven by hunger we scrambled off the rocks and away from the crowd of 50 or so who had gathered to fish, watch the ships and chug down beers from their coolers.

 

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The goal was to eat outdoors at the hotel, sit outside by one of their fire pits with a glass of Sambuca and an espresso, listen to the ocean and look forward to the morning when we would check out of the Marriott and then check into a different hotel- the Ruby Princess.

 

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Anxiously awaiting your next installment. I had never thought of going to watch the ships leave prior to going on a cruise, but now is something I want to look into. The Marriott seems like a great pre-cruise hotel. Already loving the photos!!

 

Dana

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I slept like a log- woke up in the fireplace covered in soot, but excited for what lay ahead.

 

I had actually woken up around 5 am and poked my head out of the window.

I had forgotten to open the window alas and there was glass everywhere but what met my gaze countered the pain.

 

It was dark but there was the brightly lit Celebrity Silhouette gliding quietly into the channel. On the horizon were more lights as the ships were returning from their cruises. One of them was the Ruby...

 

I went back to sleep and when I awoke I looked out of the window on the side of the room and this is what I saw....

 

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Ruby on the right, near the Hyatt hotel. Allure of the Seas on the left.

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Waking up by the sea is ...is amazing a word?

 

I grew up by the sea in Ireland and my view as a kid was of a harbor and the boats that called it home. Good lord-even my favorite piece of classical music is called "La Mer" or French for "The Sea" (by Claude Debussy).

 

Ft. Lauderdale is an exciting place to be on embarkation day as not only is the sea right there-in your face- but soon you will be sailing on it, on a dazzling ship.

 

We sprang into action-packing, breakfast al fresco, taxi to Pier 2. Over 17th St. bridge- hey! There's our cabin on the stern! We point it out to our driver who turns to look at it-we knock over a cyclist (oops! sorry!) shear off a fire hydrant (the fountains of !7th st.?) and enter the port. Our passports are checked, waved through, thread our way through the disembarking busses and we are at the luggage drop-off. $5 to the handler. $13 to the cabbie and we enter the Princess check-in through the 'Preferred" door as we are sailing in an aft suite.

 

There's a short line with 3 Princess reps checking documents and issuing our room keys/sailing cards.

 

On to security. Then to the cavernous waiting room. We are behind a wedding party who are trying to keep together (maybe they might meet again on the ship?). A Princess rep sees our boarding pass and once she sees we are in a suite has us escorted out of the room and we are taken in an elevator to a room above where there is maybe 15 people waiting. We had our photo taken up here to save having to stop on the way onto the ship as we were hoping to get prime seats in the Sanctuary for the week and get our names on the Ultimate Ship Tour list.

 

At noon the boarding process began and we were among the first 20 or so to board.

 

We separated immediately after getting our security photo linked to our boarding card/room key. Carol went to Passenger Services and I made a dash to the Sanctuary where there was only one other person ahead of me. I booked two seats for the week at a total cost of $210.

 

Then- to the cabin-the long walk aft....

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You have mastered the art of building interest.

 

My toes are literally curling in anticipation of the rest of the review.

 

refresh... refresh... refresh... :D

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I slept like a log- woke up in the fireplace covered in soot, but excited for what lay ahead.

 

I had actually woken up around 5 am and poked my head out of the window.

I had forgotten to open the window alas and there was glass everywhere but what met my gaze countered the pain.

 

It was dark but there was the brightly lit Celebrity Silhouette gliding quietly into the channel. On the horizon were more lights as the ships were returning from their cruises. One of them was the Ruby...

 

I went back to sleep and when I awoke I looked out of the window on the side of the room and this is what I saw....

 

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Ruby on the right, near the Hyatt hotel. Allure of the Seas on the left.

 

Aw a wise guy EH! NUk NUk NUk. :D

 

Excellent start.

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After unpacking and reading all the welcome aboard stuff, including excursion tickets we decided to go eat. I favored the Trident Grill over the MDR as I wanted to be out in the sun and not have waiters fussing.

 

The sun was shining-82 degrees F and the pizza (Carol) was as always, crisp and tasty without all that oil running down into your armpits when you raise the pie ( my first taste of US pizza was a Sbarro Pizza in New Jersey, so you know where I am coming from and I don't mean Caribe Deck)

 

MUTS was blasting- I think a James Taylor concert but we made our way forward to the Calypso pool and up one deck to the Tradewinds bar to eat our food. I had the knackwurst and fries with vinegar and HP sauce as I am British.

Deeeeeee-lishussss!!

 

I ordered a beer from one of the attentive roving bar waiters (Allan from India) and set to work on my first Clean-Sweep drinks card where you get points for each drink you buy. 30 points to fill a card then the card goes into a raffle. On the last day at sea is a drawing and the lucky winner gets their bar tab for the week swept clean.

 

I met some fine Canadians as I was soaking up the shade near the bar. From Toronto and experiencing their first cruise ever. I clued them in on some of what the ship had to offer-so we talked for a while and met again many times over the next 7 days. Good company.

 

Muster drill came and went, smoothly in Club Fusion and it was time for sail away. Unlike last year on the Crown we decided against going up on top of the windy deck to stand under the ship's nameplate, jammed in like sardines and elected instead to sip the provided champagne (Korbel) on our sheltered aft balcony where PE webcam had agreed to zoom in on us, waving like maniacs.

 

The way ahead.....

 

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This is when the excitement starts for me. Everything up until this time I have taken calmly in my stride-a checklist of things to be done to prepare for a smooth voyage (logistically speaking).

 

We watched the mooring lines drop into the harbor, felt the aft thrusters move us away from the dock and the ship glided forward.

 

Champagne glasses clinked. Smiles and high-fives exchanged. Sea air breathed.

 

We had no plans now until an 8pm dinner in Sabatini's.

 

Off to the port side were the rocks I had watched from yesterday....

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Subscribing can't wait.

 

Thank you.

 

What is the address of the Marriott you stayed at?

 

It's on Holiday Drive as I recall. Just off SE 17th st . We found it a year ago looking for somewhere with outdoor dining (using an iPhone)

 

Location can't be beat if you want to see ships and swim/dine at the same time.

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Edited by Bimmer09
photo off center

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Wonderful start to your review! :)

 

Cheeky question - did you take any pictures of the Queen Victoria, she was in port the same day you left? My parents boarded her for a world cruise that day and I'm sure they'd appreciate any pics if you took any? :)

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Wonderful start to your review! :)

 

Cheeky question - did you take any pictures of the Queen Victoria, she was in port the same day you left? My parents boarded her for a world cruise that day and I'm sure they'd appreciate any pics if you took any? :)

 

QV? Oh I thought it might be the QE. It was dark when she sailed out so I was back in the hotel watching. I taped it on my video camcorder so it may wind up on youtube once I figure out how to get it there.

 

Norris

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Loving the report, Bimmer09! Can't wait for more! :D

 

I was watching your sailaway on the webcam like I usually do. Guess you were the ones I saw frantically waving!

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Although dinner is complimentary for suite passengers on their first night (only) we have dined there on each cruise and would gladly pay the $20 per head cover charge.

 

Photos following show some of our eats; Veal carpaccio with ahi tuna appetizer,

Branzino( Sea Bass) baked in a salt crust (two sharing) and a nifty dessert who's name I can't recall right now.

 

All washed down with a bottle of Pinot Grigio at 3 times the land price. You can bring your own wine on board (within limits) and pay a $15 corkage fee. The wine earned me 6 points on my Clean Sweep card. Score!

 

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To be continued......

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QV? Oh I thought it might be the QE. It was dark when she sailed out so I was back in the hotel watching. I taped it on my video camcorder so it may wind up on youtube once I figure out how to get it there.

 

Norris

 

You are right, the Queen Elizabeth set off the day before you left and it was very dark. But the same day you set sail, the Queen Victoria was behind you :) I suspect you didn't notice in your embarkation excitements :)

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