Saturday, May 11, 2019

Ruby Princess California Coastal Cruise Wrap-Up

Hello from Vancouver, Canada! We stepped off the Ruby Princess yesterday and will be heading onto the Royal Princess today. Before I start thinking about the Royal, I'd like to wrap up our Ruby Princess trip.Even though I didn't do a "live from" during this past week's cruise, I did take notes about things happening around the ship. In no particular order of importance, here are some things to know about the Ruby Princess and the 5 day Los Angeles to Vancouver voyage:

This was a repositioning/California Coastal trip that was just 5 days long. The ship started in San Pedro, went to San Diego on Day 2, had two sea days, had a full day in Victoria, Canada, and then arrived in Vancouver the last day. 

We got a cheapo casino fare ($149 per person + port fees and taxes), paid $67 each for airfare, and received $175 in casino cash that we turned into $216. Our $100 loyalty credit plus our onboard credit from future cruise deposits left us only owing $5 in gratuities by the end of the cruise. We also received a free dinner in a specialty restaurant and two free drink coupons. (More info on that below.) Throw all those things in together and the trip was a pretty darn good deal.

We had booked an IF guarantee cabin and were upgraded to an IA cabin. We don't mind the inside cabins, and the way the weather turned out we wouldn't have been able to use the balcony anyway so I'm glad we had the cabin we did. Except...that cabin was hot. Like no air circulation. Maintenance fixed it - kind of. It still remained hot all week, but at least there was a small bit of circulation after they made their repairs. I guess better a super-warm cabin as opposed to the super-cold one we had on the Grand.

There were a couple surprises in the cabin we were pleased about. The ship now has the huge TVs in the corner. But unlike the other ships that are transitioning from the old TVs to the new, beautiful TVs and still have the same sucky TV programming, on the Ruby they now have the on-demand programming. Woo hoo! It was awesome. 

Something else we hadn't seen before is a light on the bottom shelf of the desk. It stayed off, but as soon as you started to walk by the corner, the light turned on. It was great to have a motion sensor light in an inside cabin for those night time bathroom runs.

Food & Drink: 
We ate our embarkation day lunch in the dining room but didn't eat any more meals there. The lines, especially for sea day lunches, were unbelievably long. Pub lunch was a super-crazy line, too. We don't do lines if we don't have to so we stuck to the buffet. It was the same old buffet layout and food, but they had a ramen station every night for dinner. Hubby was particularly happy about that. The buffet wasn't too busy and we never had problems finding a table to ourselves.

Since this was a short five day cruise, there was no Captain's Circle cocktail party. Instead we were each given a free drink coupon. Worked for us! There also wasn't a Most Traveled Guest Party. We received a letter in our cabin congratulating us for being one of the most traveled and the option to eat one night at Crown Grill, Share, or Salty Dog for free. We've done Salty Dog a couple times before on this ship during past cruises, Crown Grill a bunch of times on several ships across the Princess fleet, but had never ventured into Share. So guess what we chose?

Share was amazing! So much better than I had expected. The multi-course meal (6 courses!), the service, the atmosphere, the flavors, and the view? 
Oh, yeah. Even though I'm a steak girl and that's why we do the Crown Grill so much, I do believe Share will be taking its place when it can. (It's not available on all ships.)

I'm planning on doing a separate write-up on Share so if you're interested, keep an eye out here as I'll add a link right here.

With only two sea days and two full port days those sea days were crammed full.

Other things:
*There was only one formal night.

*We ran into a waiter and his cabin steward wife who we hadn't seen for a few years. She even sent flowers to our cabin once she found out we were onboard. So sweet, right? It's always nice to see - and catch up - with crew members.

*The Internet was horrendous. It was supposed to be the super-fast MedallionNet, but I can tell you after having spent the month on the Caribbean Princess with MedallionNet, what we had on the Ruby was definitely not speedy, fast, or reliable. I don't know if they haven't finished the wiring or what, but I couldn't get anything to load while we were in our cabin. I burned through my 150 minutes and hubby's in just two days of trying to check email. No blogging, no doing anything with photos, no surfing anything. It was a bit better in the public areas, but here's how bad it was in the cabin...I tried to do a speed test. Here's the download speed:

And the upload speed? Wouldn't even register!
Until they get whatever issue they have going on fixed, they should be embarrassed to say this ship has MedallionNet.

*Free black coffee (not the crappy-from-syrup kind) was available for free in the International Cafe from 2 am to 6 am. It was self serve. Since hubby couldn't find his old coffee card before we left for this trip, he was up every morning at 5 am for his fix.

*The new carpets in the hallways aren't color-coded. Carpets aren't going to help you figure out port v. starboard when you get off the elevator anymore. At least on this ship, that is.

*Within the first hour onboard, I witnessed some downright mean people when it came to the elevator. Yelling, pushing, and even more yelling. I just stood in the corner with my mouth shut, but geez people are so angry these days. It's a vacation, folks.

*I left my Cruising with Confidence book in the library (this one right here, but the paperback version) like I've been doing on ships lately. I put a book label on the inside cover stating it is donated by the author (me) and asking them to return it the ship's library when they are finished reading it. But as of disembarkation time yesterday the book still hadn't been returned. Guess that's the chance I take.

*I left Encouraging Word Money Pockets all around the ship and I also left them in the Wake Show Box. Our cruise director, Micca, read them on the Wake Show a couple different times. Compared to my 30 days on the Grand where they were only read just twice during all that time, it was nice to have the cruise director on the Ruby read them twice in our short stint on the ship. I've got a whole stack for the Royal, so we'll see if the good vibes continue.

*The Ogden Point Shuttle in Victoria that takes you from the port to the city is now $15 in both US and Canadian dollars. If you have Canadian on you, I suggest you pay with that. With the exchange rate it's a better deal.

*The weather was cool most of the way. Rain, wind, and chilly temperatures. It was quite a bit warmer (and sunnier) in Victoria and Vancouver than in San Diego. Go figure.

Now, off to Alaska on the Royal Princess. While I won't be doing a live from there either, I will be posting the Patters as I go along. Stay tuned.