Fairy tale romance aboard Ruby Princess
Ship Review by Matt Roseboom, February 2009
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This is a tale about the Ruby Princess.
She is large but beautiful, always ready for fun and romance, and she’s all about great food. No this isn’t a fairy tale, it’s life aboard Princess Cruises’ newest ship.
The 3,070-passenger Ruby Princess launched in November and although it’s the sister ship to the Crown Princess and Emerald Princess, it has a few touches that set it apart such as expanded wireless Internet access, a pub lunch, new enrichment classes, entertainment options and an Ultimate Ship Tour.
The ship’s overall design is Italian, with its focus in the three-story La Piazza atrium. Here you’ll find the usual purser and excursion desks, stores, a cafe and a wine bar. But it’s also where you’ll find ever-changing musicians and street performers throughout the day. It’s a great place to relax and people watch.
As with most cruise ships, the Ruby Princess is all about the food, but not just any food, the ship features what I call fancy food. But if you’re in the mood for something simpler, there’s always pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs and the main dining rooms feature a different home-style meal each night.
Look for three main dining rooms with traditional (set-time) or open seating options, plus additional-fee specialty restaurants, Crown Grill and Sabatini‘s. Crown Grill features steaks and seafood with an open, theater-style kitchen. But the truly special dining happens at Sabatini‘s. Come extra hungry for this 15-course Italian feast.
On sea days, the Wheelhouse Bar becomes an English-style pub for lunch, serving bangers and mash, fish and chips, ploughman’s lunch and cottage pie, as well as pub beers.
There are a couple of other specialty dining options that I highly recommend.
The first is called Chef’s Table. You’ll get stares from other passengers as you’re led into the galley, where you’ll enjoy pre-dinner cocktails and hors d’oeuvres served by the head chef. The chef will give you a brief tour of the galley and answer questions before escorting you to the Chef’s Table in the dining room. Once seated you’ll be served a multi-course meal of the chef’s choice and not available elsewhere on the ship. There is a $75 per person fee, but it’s not just a meal. It’s an experience you won’t forget. Availability is limited, so sign up early.
Also, for $50 per person, enjoy the moon and stars over a candlelight dinner from your balcony, complete with private waiter.
The elegantly designed Ruby Princess offers a great vacation whether you’re bringing the kids for fun and adventure or looking for a romantic, relaxing week away.
The line’s clearly defined roots — Princess is The Love Boat line after all – are noticeably present. Look for flat-screen in-room TV’s to feature the hit-show 24-hours a day. DVDs of the same are available for purchase in the gift shop.
Ruby Princess is sailing in the Western Caribbean until it relocates to the Mediterranean for 12-day cruises in May.
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