Saturday, December 28, 2013

A Ruby Red Christmas Birthday

My Mother turned 85 on December 15th...... in honor of that auspicious occasion, we celebrated a mother-daughter cruise on the beautiful Ruby Princess!
My Mom in the 1960's....She was a real hot ticket!
Mom is still a hot ticket at the age of 84.....
just a little slower....

All 5 of us piled into my fire engine red car and drove 5 hours to Ft. Lauderdale.  Our first stop was at MacDonald's  for Breakfast....What a surprise to have Santa, and Ronald greet us and start the celebration off right!
 After checking in, we went to see the rooms......Can you imagine a bunch of over 60 wild women sharing a room with bunk beds....
Patty drew the short straw.....

But as it was her birthday on the 24th, I sucked it up and moved into the top bunk myself....
actually, it was not bad.....has a light for reading, and was pretty comfortable!
The room itself was of adequate size, with plenty of storage space, certainly enough for 3 women on a 4 day cruise. Bathroom was fine, small shower, with a curtain, for those interested, we did not have the new shampoo dispensers. The added a large bottle of the new shampoo, but on the last day, they removed the cap, so we couldn't pack it and take IT HOME...Really?
Jeannie and Janet had a room for two...( how did that happen!)
Our first order of business was to explore and ohhh and awwww over the beautiful decorations in the Piazza
Cruising at Christmas is so Fancy!

Christmas decorations

The views off the back of the ship are awesome....One nice things about Princess ships, is the Aft swimming pool....It's private, and usually not crowded....The deck above is nice for smokers, and was my sister Janet's favorite place!

It was a 4 day cruise to Cozumel Mexico, with 2 sea days
We were never bored as there was lots to do! 

                                             We enjoyed a pub lunch in this beautiful Lounge
Watched the chefs carve fruits and vegetables into delectable little animals
Loved the Owl!!!
We spent a fun hour making cute little  cards ( I'm not the craftiest person on the planet, but with a little help form my side kicks...well....I didn't screw up too bad!)

Jeanne's was soooooo creative!

The promenade deck is a wonderful place to hang out and take some awesome pictures!
It's also a great place to walk and try to use up some of the excess calories!
We had a lot of fun taking pictures of each other!
Our day in Cozumel was overcast and a little rainy, but we didn't let it keep us down!
We took a taxi to the center of town....12 USD for 5 people 1 way.... and we were dropped off right in the center of the action!
The view of the water was awesome!
                                        So easy to walk up and down the waterfront and shop
We found a cute little restaurant called La Candela, with authentic local food.....We all toasted the day with SOL beers, and homemade  tacos. For those of you who will visit in the future, this place is one block off the main drag on Calle 6 Norte.....try it! It's well worth it!
One of the local shops....we didn't stop in , but it wasn't for lack of trying by the proprietor!
A great view of the water taken by my sister can see more at her blog....
I borrowed a few of her pictures to share with you....

We had a fun day, but we eventually had to return to our home away from home!
We were able to find a cab without a problem. As Mother was tired, we asked the security guard for a wheelchair as we entered the port shops. One was quickly provided and Mom was wheeled back to the ship for a nominal cost of a tip. We gave 5.00 for his trouble.

We sailed home the next day....
and enjoyed the sunset on our last evening at sea.....

 The next day we made a mad dash home in order to drop Patty off at Tampa, for her flight back to   California, and her family...

The sunsets are just as beautiful from my backyard......there is no place like home!
My review of the ship
Food......the food service in the Dining room was impeccable. Meals were served hot and on time.
I have to say, Princess has some of the best food on the high seas!  International café did not disappoint, although, as a frequent cruiser, I would like to see some change in the menu.
Buffett, was consistently good, and easy to find a seat.
Overall service......We had only one problem with our bathroom drainage, and it was quickly resolved.  Our waiters at the 6pm dining, were so cute, and kept us entertained.  We loved the kindness and caring they showed our Mother.
Entertainment..... It was awesome! The evening shows were excellent, and we able to find a seat fairly easily, as long as we were early. Daytime activities were plentiful.
overall ship condition.....The Ruby has been kept in excellent shape!  The ship was clean, and neatly kept.
I give the Ruby princess an overall score of A-.......

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A wonderful week on the Freedom of the seas

The Freedom of the Seas

Sometimes it's just fun to hop on a ship and do nothing.....just lazy days doing what you want to do. No stress, no muss, no fuss.....
We drove over to Port Canaveral Dec 1, and boarded the Royal Caribbean Freedom of the seas. The FOS is ,by all standards a Huge Ship,  160,000 Tons, 1112 ft. long, and carries 3600 passengers and 1300 crew! It has 18 decks, and the Royal promenade is 4 decks high, and 445 feet long, lined with bars, cafes, and shops. We love this ship!
     Boarding was easy peasy, taking about 15 minutes from Dock to schooner bar for our traditional welcome aboard bloody Mary.  Our room was open by 1300, and we had a wonderful view outside our balcony. Honestly, we are not particular about our room at this stage. We book rooms, based on itinerary, weather, and price. Our Cabin was a bargain so balcony here we come!

After the lifeboat drill, we unpacked, and continued on to the Diamond+ lounge.  The service was wonderful, lots of little hot and cold items to snack on, but we wondered what happened to the veggies, and cheese platter?  Service as usual, was excellent.

The Royal promenade

Christmas had arrived!

I love the glass elevators!

We were late arriving to My Time dining, and couldn't be seated until 8:45 ( a little late for us),So we joined our friends upstairs at the windjammer. The buffet was adequate, and we had a hearty dinner, complete with dessert.  We were tired, so we elected to forgo any evening activities , and off to the cabin we went for a glass of wine on the balcony.
What a sunset!

Day one was coco Cay, and after a late breakfast in the Diamond lounge, we addressed the My Time dining issue, and made standing reservations for 6 pm, table of six.
Continental breakfast, and the cappuccinos were so yummy! 
                                                                Our table for 6
We then hopped on a tender, and wow, realized how rough the seas were.....apparently the captain had the same idea, and all tendering to Coco Cay was cancelled!! After we disembarked, they spent the next few hours evacuating the island. Those poor people returning had a very rough ride back to the ship! 

We played golf...( I won!!)
Watched a number of people lose their bathing suits on the flow rider!  Best show in town!

Later that day, after we sailed off, our ship had to return to the Bahamas twice to evacuate medical emergencies, hence we were delayed enough time we couldn't make it to St Thomas, and we were diverted to Puerto Rico instead! We were thrilled, as we had never visited San Juan!

Day 3, San Juan, was a disaster! Rain, rain, rain and then monsoon! We only made it a few blocks into Olde Town, and we ducked into a bar and grill to dry off. Had some sangria, a little lunch, and headed back to the ship.....Thank goodness we are flexible!

                                           The fort at the entrance to this beautiful harbor

                                     After the monsoon, this street had a river running down it!

The sangrias were 2 for lucky is that!

Plantain baskets with the most yummy chicken and peppers....Eat local I say!

             Day 4 was Phillipsburg , Dutch West Indies......We have been there several times, so we 
                         just did a little shopping and people watching while we had a cold one!

The view from our little Cafe

No point in having a small beer!

A little birdie flew by...I wonder what he might tell you?

The two remaining seas days were just relaxing, watching the shows, eating, cocktail hour each night, and did I mention eating??
Our travel partners watching the show!

Michael and his partner on stage! ( No, that's not me!)
View from our balcony as we left San Maartin
Finally some Sun!
Michael shops in only the best places!
Here are my observations.
Chops.....     Dinner was excellent and the service was wonderful!

Main Dining room.....    Food had it's ups and downs, but for the most part was very good. We ordered escargot one night, and had scallops were served instead. The warm chocolate cake was missing it's almond toffee and little pear slices. We spoke to the head waiter, and the next night we were surprised with our warm chocolate cake with the toffee and pears!!. Later in the cruise, we were presented with actual escargot! We were treated like Royalty!

Evening entertainment...... The singers and dancers were amazing, and both musicals were excellent! The ice show we saw was of the skaters was injured badly enough, that he had to be evacuated off the ship for an injury on his arm.  The Cruise Director, Richard Spacy, was hilarious!  The best I've ever seen!

Spa.....I had a Swedish massage that was heavenly.....Thank you CruCon!

overall impression......  A wonderful week!   I highly recommend this ship and give it a B+ overall.