Fresh from a multi-million dollar renovation, the 3,080-passenger Ruby Princess sailed out of dry dock in December 2015 with many new features, including SHARE. Even with the updates, the Ruby Princess still has a traditional cruise decor that attracts cruisers who are looking for a more traditional cruise experience.
The Ruby Princess offers nearly 900 balconies from which to view the world, an array of entertainment options including Movies Under the Stars® with the industry’s best 7.1 surround sound for an immersive audio experience, and sumptuous dining options from Crown Grill to exciting new top deck dining venues including Slice Pizzeria and Coffee & Cones.
In this post I’ll go through many points about the ship experience on the Ruby Princess in 2017 during our Alaska cruise and 2019 during our New Zealand cruise, as well as the ports with links to those reviews at the bottom.
The designers of the Ruby Princess wanted private verandas to be available to virtually everyone, and this ship has nearly 900 cabins with balconies, ranging from standard outside cabins to mini-suites and full suites. The unique tiered design means the balcony above doesn’t block the sun, but nor does it offer much in the way of privacy. It’s worth noting that except for the handful of mini-suites on Emerald Deck, the majority of staterooms in this category are situated on the completely-uncovered Dolphin Deck. Regular balcony staterooms one deck up on Caribe deck feature balconies that are half covered.
Ruby Princess Amenities
At the center of the ship, the 3 story atrium is very beautiful, grand, and spacious, with 2 elegant staircases and touches of glass and brass. This elegant atrium serves as the backdrop for some memorable moments, including the Champagne waterfall at the captain’s welcome party.
In the Piazza there are a few shops, a couple of bars, the entrance to the casino, and the International Cafe. There’s plenty of comfortable seating and has a nice dance floor in the middle, where you can dance to the live bands. The Piazza is the central hub of the Ruby Princess and there was always something going on.
Food and Drink
The Ruby Princess has many choices in dining venues; both free and fee-based. The food was great and the options diverse, and if you don’t like a meal you’ve receive, they will promptly replace it with something else you’d prefer.
There are three main dining rooms that come in handy for the line’s Personal Choice Dining Program, which allows passengers to choose from Traditional Dining with early and late seatings for dinner or Anytime Dining. The ship’s 24-hour casual restaurant, the Horizon Court, offers a buffet alternative for breakfast and lunch; at night it becomes a sit-down bistro. Tuscan-inspired Sabatini’s is the ship’s venue for upscale Italian fare, and has established itself over the years as one of cruising’s more popular alternative restaurant concepts.
Say the night-life on-board is entertaining is an understatement. Illuminating the stage in captivating productions, Princess Cruises performers are some of the most talented musicians, singers and dancers at sea. Our Princess Signature Shows, lounge performers, movies and casinos are just some of the entertainment our guests enjoy as they escape completely.
The Princess Theatre is the ship’s two level and largest entertainment venue located on decks 6 and 7. The theater features production shows, entertainers, singers and comedians at night, during the day there are various workshops, demonstrations and seminars available here.
Princess produces some of the best Broadway style shows at sea and, with great acoustics, comfortable seating, and a state-of-the-art sound and video system, Princess provides cruisers with the ultimate theatrical experience.
While some of the newer ships have great shows, the Ruby Princess offers passengers something that they can’t; the ability to go and see a show at anytime without needing a reservation. The new ships have too many passengers to allow that kind of freedom. So on a new ship you may have to make reservations ahead of time for the shows. The Ruby Princess offers plenty of seating with clear views and each chair offers a pop up table for your drinks.
The solo shows and enrichment were quite interesting during our Alaska cruise.
Movies Under the Stars
The Lido Deck, Deck 15, possibly the busiest area of the ship due to the many offerings, is where Movies Under the Stars is located – a giant 300-square foot poolside movie theater with a 69,000-watt sound system.
Throughout the day and night, this exclusive open-air poolside amphitheater is the place to be for feature films, thrilling concerts and exciting sporting events such as live football games. During chilly days or evenings, cruisers can get cozy under a fleece blanket in a comfortable lounger and snack on complimentary fresh-popped popcorn or delicious cookies and milk.
Pools & Whirlpools Spas
We are not “pool people” but the Ruby Princess has 4 pools and 7 whirlpool spas. The pools looked spacious but possibly under-utilized by passengers on our cruises except on rare occasions when it was a bit overcrowded but, with an ample amount of lounge chairs and tables with chairs, these were, for the most part, a perfect spots to relax on a sea day.
I would not classify the Ruby Princess as an overly active cruise ship, but there are facilities for exercise and recreational activities
If you’re looking for outdoor space to relax, Deck 16, the Sun Deck, has the most space and lounge chairs. The pools also have space but it’s a bit louder, which is okay if you have kids. A lot of people hang out on the sun decks and there are plenty of lounge chairs – unattended items were removed removed at timely intervals to allow others to use the chair.
The Sanctuary on Deck 17, the Sports Deck, is for adults only and entry comes at an additional cost – $20 for half-day; $40 for the whole day during our cruises. You’re paying for seclusion and exclusivity, plus the lounge chairs here are padded, so they are very comfortable.
Children & Teens
Cruising is a popular family vacation, and we saw a few kids of all ages aboard the Ruby Princess during our Alaska cruise (none on our New Zealand cruise). With a full kids club offering of cabin categories with tubs and services like crib rentals and complimentary jarred baby food, Ruby Princess is a good choice for families.
Camp Discovery is the the onboard kids program; families are free to visit some of the Camp Discovery areas with their babies, ages 6 months to 2 years old, but most sections are off-limits to children under 2 years of age.
The camp is divided into two groups depending on age.
- The Treehouse is for 3- to 7-year-olds who are kept busy with coloring projects, toys, books, dance parties and sing-alongs. Kids in this age bracket must be signed into and out of the camp by a parent or designated guardian.
- The Lodge is for the tween set, ages 8 to 12. As long as parents sign a waiver giving permission, kids of this age can come and go as they please. Counselors here will keep the kids busy with talent shows, dance competitions, rocket-building Lego contests, paper airplane challenges and treasure hunts. The space also has video games, which is a big draw.
The Beach House teen center is for 13- to 17-year-olds. They have video game tournaments; air hockey, foosball and Ping-Pong games; dance parties and movie nights.
Ruby Princess is Best For:
Classic Cruisers: The ship’s nightclub, Skywalkers, is great for post-dinner drinks and dancing, but those looking for an all-night party won’t find it on Ruby Princess.
Couples: From SHARE to Vines to Crooners piano bar, there are many options for date night. Add a couples massage in the Lotus Spa to really feel like you’re on your honeymoon — even if you’re not.