Saturday, November 28, 2009

Ruby Princess--Post 1

First, a belated Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! I realized after submitting my post on Turkey Day that I didn’t take time to do that. I trust you’ve all enjoyed the holiday. We missed our kids, but know they’ve enjoying sharing Thanksgiving with the in-laws this year, while we look forward to Christmas at our home.

There is still much to write about the Oasis, but we’ve got the 7-night inaugural cruise ahead of us with greater opportunities to review food and entertainment. This first so-called “revenue” cruise will prove more indicative of the ship’s normal routine.

I do want to hit briefly on entertainment, however. Some of you may remember the a capella group Mosaic from the TV series America’s Got Talent. As we watch that show, Ben and I usually can’t help wondering which groups/performers might work well on cruise ships, and we decided Mosaic would be a good one. We were correct! They ramped up their act, added clever audience participation, and sounded even better in person than on TV.

I’m moving on now to our current cruise on the Ruby Princess. I must say she is a beautiful ship with tasteful, elegant décor and warm, subdued colors—another worthy “jewel” to sisters Diamond, Sapphire, Emerald, and Crown.

We didn’t book a balcony cabin this time like we usually do, but stuck with an ocean view cabin on the Plaza Deck. What a wonderful location! We’re just down the hallway (through the art gallery) from the Piazza, home to the International Café (assorted coffees, light snacks, and desserts) and Vines (seafood/sushi and wines). It is here that pianists and musicians, jugglers, and sometimes dancers create a lovely environment for reading—and blogging. The embarkation ramp is down just one deck, the theater is a short two-deck walk up, and the dining room is down the hall more toward midship. Perfect.

I also like the cabin configuration with the desk/vanity and closet providing a partition between the beds and bathroom, affording plenty of space. The only problem is that the beds work better as two twins rather than one queen, at least in our particular cabin. Otherwise, the person next to the wall has no access to a reading light/nightstand, since there is only one wide nightstand with two immovable lamps. We made it work.

Since this is a 10-night cruise, the average age skews a little older and there are only a few children onboard. Nonetheless, a quick look at the children/teen area gave proof to some excellent and fun possibilities for young ones. Admittedly, the Princess youth programs don’t get as high marks as those on Disney, Royal Caribbean, or Carnival, but cruise lines cannot and should not try to be all things to all people. Thank goodness for variety!

On the contrary, Princess is noted for her ScholarShip@Sea program offering classes in such topics as scrapbooking, dance, ceramics, and even lectures on a multitude of topics. I’m enjoying the guest lecturer on our cruise, Professor Charles Messing,, whose expertise in marine biology has already taken us on a journey through the history of underwater exploration, with other topics to come. Today we’ll learn more about coral formations in the Caribbean.

On Thanksgiving, the Piazza showcased our chef giving a turkey carving demonstration, also part of the course schedule. Coming up later in the week will be a backstage tour, more dance classes (from ballroom to meringue), and a “Bar Wars”—one of Ben’s favorites!

I might add here that Thanksgiving dinner was excellent on the Ruby—tender, moist turkey, chestnut dressing (I confess this wasn’t our favorite, but realize it is a tradition in some parts of the country), and baked sliced sweet potatoes. Best of all, I neither cooked nor cleaned up!

More on the ship and our ports of call in my next posts.

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