I’m just back from a 4 day cruise from Los Angeles to Vancouver on the Ruby Princess. It’s been a few years since I’ve cruised on Princess, and I wanted to see firsthand some of the changes they’ve made. Princess has always been known for their affordable balcony cabins, and this hasn’t changed. Cabins are a decent size, and so are the balconies. They aren’t fancy, but have lots of storage, fridge and new very comfortable beds. The Ruby Princess is large, with over 3000 passengers. Our cruise was full, but most of the time it wasn’t that noticeable. There is 3 main dining rooms, 4 specialty restaurants, very large buffet restaurant with 4 separate areas, 4 swimming pools, and many lounges. As usual, the lineups were at meal times. If you could avoid peak times and were willing to share a table it wasn’t too long. In the buffet the main problem was finding a place to sit as our weather wasn’t conducive to sitting outside. Princess has added several new specialty restaurants. We tried their Gastropub, the Salty Dog, located in the Wheelhouse lounge. It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience, from the band providing entertainment, to the “sharing” style of menu. For the $19.95 per person surcharge, you got 2 appetizers, your choice of 3 small plates, and a desert. Choices included lobster Mac & cheese, short ribs, roasted beets, and duck confit salad.
Another new item was the “Magic to do” show, with music by Steven Schwartz. Terrific costumes and sets, a real crowd pleaser. Along with the show lounge, Princess offered a wide range of entertainment at night. Depending on the lounge you choose you could pick from jazz, dance band playing standards, disco, classical, piano or guitar player. Plus of course their Movies under the Stars, and the retro “Love Boat” channel on the cabin TV.
As can happen on a Coastal Cruise, we had some rough weather. Other than closing the forward deck for a day, and the pools for part of day it didn’t affect us.
I found Princess offered good food and service, as well as a good variety of things to do both day and night. They do a good job of welcoming repeat cruisers with added perks. A good solid choice for cruisers looking for large ship experience at a reasonable price.