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Ruby Princess E. Caribbean photo and video review

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AHOY THERE SHIPMATES!

 

Step aboard for a LONG review of the Ruby Princess and sail with us on the January 24th 2015 cruise to little-known islands such as Princess Cays, St Maarten, St.Thomas and Grand Turk which is nowhere near Istanbul apparently, despite the name. No Blue Mosque but maybe some mosquitos.

 

ALONG THE WAY

 

You'll see the Ruby Princess, from stem to the blunt end bit at the back-maybe someone with more nautical knowledge can name it but in Britain it would be the "bum" or "backside". It's where they ran out of ship in a manner of speaking.

 

You'll see lots and lots (maybe even more) FOOD PORN on land and sea (rdsqrl Annie this is for YOU)

 

You'll see each port and the ships we shared them with. Big ships full of drunk people with names like Celebrity Reflection, Carnival Glory, MSC Divina, Regal Princess, Norwegian Getaway, Celebrity Constellation, Caribbean Princess, Westerdam and some luxury cruise yachts like Seadream 1, Solange and Eclipse (which has to be seen to be believed) and private yachts such as Aquila which will knock your socks off but barefoot is the way to go in the sunny Eastern Caribbean anyway.

 

You'll see and hear parts of Princess Theater shows and the Estonians among you will be happy with the videos I bring to the screen for the first time. You'll see the best entertainment I have ever seen on a Princess ship.

 

You'll get an honest review of the food and service on the ship-the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

 

BUT FIRST

 

But first you'll have to bear with me as I relate the tale of our first vacation day which will find us in Florida. We always fly into FLL (Fort Lauderdale) a day early to acclimatize to the weather and guarantee we won't be late for boarding. After the cruise there will be the wind-down in FLL where we get a chance to shake our fists at the ship we were just on, leaving us weeping on the beach.

 

So please pour yourself a drink( and the stiffer the better) and clear your calendar for the next month or so while I get on with this ramble.....

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Cool. Should be a bloody good time reliving my cruise on the Ruby through you!

 

Now about the nautical anatomical terms of a ship. I think the back end is called the "back end" and the front is called the "front end". I just wish I could figure out where the sails were located. :)

Edited by schlot

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It has become a tradition with us ( me and my Traveling Companion Carol) to take a cruise in January to escape the cold of Chicago.

 

This cruise (our 7th in 3 years) was our first time to repeat an Itinerary ( E Caribbean) and our first time to repeat a ship as we had sailed this route and this ship in January 2013 (see review in signature).

 

Would it be as good as our last cruise, just 3 months ago on the Ocean Princess to the Mediterranean? Of course not! What have you been drinking??!

 

No, the Ocean in the Med was the bees knees and the cats pajamas as far as our cruise history goes. But this cruise was NOT TOO SHABBY.

 

We were at O'Hare airport with two hours to spare before our flight (ALWAYS BE EARLY!)

 

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It begins with our very pleasant flight to Fort Lauderdale at 10.00 a.m on Friday January 23rd. We had TSA-PRE printed on our boarding pass and that means we breezed through O'Hare security. Got some sandwiches at airport prices and spent some time in the United Club lounge. No snow. Just 30 degree temperatures which we hoped to trade-in for something higher.

 

 

No rental car from Hertz this time as we planned to spend our first day at our excellent lodgings- the Marriott Harbor Beach hotel on Holiday Drive, close to the mouth of the Port Everglades cruise port.

 

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Soft, white sandy beach- but windy.

 

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This was our 3rd time staying at the MHB. It is close to the exit for the port and usually Boat Nerd Norris walks the 3/4 mile along the shifting sands to film the ships leaving at 4 pm. However by the time we checked in and unpacked I would have had to run to catch the ships in close-up and if there's one thing I don't do it is run.

 

Instead I like to sit and sip a rum drink, whether a mojito or a dark rum (Myers) and Coke.

 

You can still see the ships from the hotel as they sail out to sea, full of very happy people....

 

Look! There goes the Zuiderdam or the something else dam

 

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The Hotel

 

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We sat by the beach on the deck of the Sea Level restaurant and enjoyed a snack of delicious crab salsa. We had booked a table at the hotel's estimable 3030 restaurant for 7 p.m so didn't want to spoil our appetite for dinner.

 

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As we ate Celebrity Equinox tried to sneak out of port

 

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Cool. Should be a bloody good time reliving my cruise on the Ruby through you!

 

Now about the nautical anatomical terms of a ship. I think the back end is called the "back end" and the front is called the "front end". I just wish I could figure out where the sails were located. :)

 

I'm glad a nautical expert weighed in. Thank goodness for Cruise Critic and the wealth of information at one's fingertips!

 

Norris

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The Ruby was our first Princess cruise - wish we'd taken more pictures so looking forward to your review!

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

 

Welcome aboard and don't worry about pics of the Ruby- I have a boat load!

Lots of video too. We can even be seen in close-up on the PE webcam sail away.

Just above lifeboat 22 waving a towel and drinking bubbly.

 

Norris

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Carol enjoys the warmth (77 deg F) and the ocean breeze

 

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The Maasdam sets out to sea

 

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I think we may have to all fund a cruise for you every month or 2 so we can have these excellent photo reviews. :D

 

WOW- thank you very much for that thought Colo.

 

I am particularly excited about this one as I wasn't expecting it to be so stellar (been there, done that) but when I came home and saw the photos and video I realized I have a lot of good material to share and that surprised me as this was maybe my laziest cruise yet. There were some great people aboard but I won't tell you who just yet as the story has to unfold chronologically as is my style.

 

I captured some great sunrises and sunsets that I can't wait to share with you.

 

I did get some new equipment to help the process and will explain that too as I ramble along.

 

I am totally onboard with the funding idea! Pass the hat!

 

Very glad to have you find this and hope you'll stick around as it unfolds...

 

Thanks again,

 

Norris

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Enjoying your review ;)

The Ruby will always be special to me as we did the inaugural cruise on her, 2 weeks of fun.

 

Thank you Julia. Very long review ahead so get comfy!

 

Norris

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It was "magic light" time now when the sun bathes the buildings in it's golden glow. We decided to move over to the pool area and sit for a while.

 

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Your photos are fabulous--great composition and lighting. We are getting on the Ruby in two weeks, so I anxiously await the remainder of your review and photos. Wine is poured and I'm ready for more!

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Thanks Norris for doing these fun reviews. I love your point of view and the "tongue in cheek" phrases, that is what you mean to do, right?

Will be watching and reading as you go along. Have not sailed Princess but that doesn't keep me from enjoying your views.

We don't have anything planned to sail until May 17th, so you just keep me anxious for the open sea.

continue.....please........

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The pool staff set about the business of clearing up all the towels and drinking glasses as the light faded and the kitchens kicked into gear. This is a very busy resort hotel, used by residents and locals alike.

 

They have a seated smoking section by one of the exit doors which of course is a plus for me. Several times there I met and chatted with a Canadian gentleman who had recently sailed on Legend of the Seas and-not related- had been to Cuba many times. He was a cigar smoker and spoke very high of the hospitality and great food to be found in Cuba. We are both itching to go there as we were introduced to Cuba through their music-particlarly through Ry Cooder's bringing the Buena Vista Social Club's music to the contemporary world's ear.

 

Florida as the sun goes down....the warm breezes of the ocean, Latin music playing from a bar. Suntanned people with a joie de vivre, not bowed down by the Arctic weather of the Midwest and North Eastern states : it all clicks into place and you feel on vacation.

 

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Carol may be the last to leave her sun lounger

 

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I look at my watch only because we have a dinner appointment and my motto is NEVER BE LATE or ALWAYS BE EARLY. Same thing. You and I could arrange to meet under a particular tree in the Amazon jungle ten years from now on a Tuesday at 8.57 a.m and I'd be there are 8.50 waiting for you. Being kept waiting gets my panties in a bunch.

 

A cargo ship approaches the harbor-this port is always busy with traffic bringing in or taking out goods

.

 

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The Palm trees light up as dusk is upon us. Later the fire pits will be lit so people can gather around with drinks for conversation.

 

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Your photos are fabulous--great composition and lighting. We are getting on the Ruby in two weeks, so I anxiously await the remainder of your review and photos. Wine is poured and I'm ready for more!

 

Bonship- you'll see enough of the Ruby before you sail. Where are you joining her? She is on a 49 day S. America cruise right now.

 

Pour me a glass or pinot grigio or merlot while you're up.

 

Norris

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Thanks Norris for doing these fun reviews. I love your point of view and the "tongue in cheek" phrases, that is what you mean to do, right?

Will be watching and reading as you go along. Have not sailed Princess but that doesn't keep me from enjoying your views.

We don't have anything planned to sail until May 17th, so you just keep me anxious for the open sea.

continue.....please........

 

Julia and Karl, thanks for tuning in again. Yes my tongue is firmly planted in my cheek as I am British and have a degree in irony/sarcasm.

 

Who are you sailing with May 17?

 

I hope that this gets the attention of some people who haven't sailed Princess or at least haven't sailed the Ruby.

 

Norris

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So nice to sit here and relax as the sun goes somewhere else to shine

 

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Soon it cools down and as my middle name is "Mr. Toasty" I move inside the hotel.

 

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Carol is taking a nap before dinner. Naps are good. Take that to the bank and get me a roll of quarters while you're there. Soon we will stuff our faces at this restaurant.

 

 

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3030 is a restaurant whose Executive Chef is Paula da Silva- the runner-up from TV's Hell's Kitchen series 5. Unquestionably most of the contestants on that Gordon Ramsay show are indeed "muppets" but the cream rises to the top and Paula was someone we were rooting for all those years ago. Tonight we'd get to taste her food. My mouth was already watering at the thought of a great meal, a nice glass of Sambuca to finish and then a few hours sleep as I was planning to be up at 4 a.m ( I too, am a muppet)

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Enjoying your review! :)

LuLu

 

Thanks Lulu!

 

Norris

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3030 has a bar just as you enter and also a man singing and playing guitar (he was very good) so the noise level is very high. It's a babble that detracts from the experience as the food is really very good. "Best meal I've had in Florida" said Carol, who was born there and once beyond the stage of Gerber's and Farley's Rusks ate a meal or two.

 

Luckily the dinner crowd would thin-out during the time we spent there and sanity would be restored. We had a very good Hispanic waiter whose name I clearly should have remembered.

 

Some FOOD PORN in dim lighting......

 

This was my roasted beet salad with grilled tomatoes, lettuce and walnuts.

I am a beet lover, pickled or roasted and this hit the spot with a glass of whatever the hell I was drinking-probably Pinot Grigio as that is my go-to light crisp wine.

 

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Carol's Brussels sprouts Caesar salad with real white anchovies

 

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My swordfish (perfectly cooked, moist and delicious) with navy beans (too many of those...ease up on the beans. The fish is the star)

 

 

Carol's entree was a fish we'd not heard of before....roasted Calvino with fresh corn and bean succotash with red pepper aoili and crisp yucca. Yummo!

 

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Carol's incredible Lemon Bar dessert with two yummy sorbets

 

 

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My dessert that night, as it is often, was a Sambuca and a double espresso

 

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The bill for this fine meal was $140 and so a tip of $28 was added and well deserved.

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Can't wait to read more. Sailing out on the Emerald in less than a month. Reviews like yours getting me in the cruising mood. ☺️

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

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Bed seemed like a good idea after a big dinner and a few drinks. It was my plan to get up early and greet the ships returning to port.

 

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