I sailed an eastern Caribbean itinerary on the Ruby Princess. The primary objective of this cruise was to attend a destination wedding of the daughter of a good friend of mine. Of course, we also planned to enjoy the beautiful ship and the four ports of call:
Boarding the Ruby Princess in Fort LauderdaleMy friend Maggie and I drove to Fort Lauderdale from Georgia. It's a long drive, but easier than flying since you can pack more easily. We don't see each other often, so the long ride gave us a chance to visit.
The cruise got off to a little bit of a rough start because the ship had an outbreak of the pesky norovirus on its previous cruise. So, they didn't start boarding the Ruby Princess until about 3:15 pm (instead of 12:30), and Maggie and I did not get on the ship until 5:30. Princess Cruises thoughtfully sent us an email the day before embarkation alerting us to the delay, so we timed our arrival accordingly. Unfortunately, many who flew in didn't have much choice but to sit in the large convention center all day or drop off their baggage and go off exploring Ft. Lauderdale. However, it was for the best. We certainly didn't want anyone on our cruise to get sick. The first three days of the cruise, passengers were not allowed to serve themselves at the buffets, and there were no salt or pepper shakers on the tables. We all were especially conscientious about washing our hands. All these efforts paid off--there were no reported cases of norovirus on our cruise. Three days after sailing the salt and pepper shakers were back on the table and the buffet and drink machines were open to passenger use.
Soon after boarding, we had the mandatory lifeboat drill, where they scanned everyone's cards to make sure we were all in attendance. With all the people being scanned (and not many scanners), the process was a little tedious and slow, but after the check-in, the crew got the safety points across efficiently.
My friend Maggie and I had a regular balcony cabin, which is very nice, but doesn't have a sofa like the mini-suite I stayed in on the Emerald Princess cruise. After unpacking, we ate dinner at Michelangelo, one of the "Anytime" dining rooms. We had to wait about 15 minutes to join a table, but the hostess took our names and gave us an electronic pager so we could go exploring while waiting. What a nice idea!
Dinner was very good. I had spring rolls, a nice spinach tortellini soup (brothy, not creamy), and pork. Maggie had the spring rolls, mushroom soup, and a mixed seafood stew with a crust on top. She didn't eat dessert, but I had chocolate ice cream. We had to set the clocks up an hour, so it was almost midnight before we got in bed. The next day we would be at the Princess Cays.