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Sting 01-14-2010 06:10 AM

G'day.... We are an Aussie Family cruising to the Caribbean for the first time Departing Ft Lauderdale on 30 March onboard the Ruby Princess. We have cruised a few times in the Pacific with P&O with mixed opinions so trying something different this yr.

A few questions.....

1/ We will be sailing on an Easter Cruise does Princess lines celebrate Easter for the children onboard?
2/ We booked recently and were given a oceanview room on the plaza deck with the promise of "almost certainly to be given an upgrade" how true is this.... as this does not occur on Australian ships
3/Laundry facilities onboard are showing self use laundries at a cost of $1.50 USD. Are coins required or is it card swipe...Due to our Domestic travel to get to our overseas flight we have limited luggage capability so washing mid cruise is a necessity.
4/While researching the possibility of a USA based cruise I came across a childrens prepaid daily soft drink deal... You pay a fixed price for unlimited soft drinks.. but am unable to find it again... Is it Princess like I thought?

Any answers to these questions are greatly Appreciated.

Also one last question for Ft Lauderdale locals I have booked thru the Aust Army's Defence Leave plan 4 nights stay at the Sheraton Ft Lauderdale Airport and Cruise Port Hotel, here in Australia Sheraton is a high standard hotel chain anyone know about this hotel.

Thanks

Sting

Cruise Fanatic 01-14-2010 07:12 AM

Welcome to Cruise Chat,
Yes, the ship should be doing something special for Easter.
If you booked in a "guarantee" than there is a good chance that you will get upgraded. It's not 100% guaranteed though. An upgrade can be simply being moved to a higher deck, or it could even be the same deck but a better location, such as midship, versus aft or forward. Sometimes it can be an outside cabin to balcony, but that isn't often.
Yes, there is a beverage package and it's $4.25 a day plus 15% gratuity. So if your cruise is seven days then 7 X $4.25. You receive a mug with the package but you don't have to carry the mug around with you. They put a sticker on your cruise card. 15% gratuity is added to any beverage/alcohol drink regardless if it's a package or individual drink. People that drink a lot of soda, (at least three a day) benefit from the package. The package is per person and not shared.
I've never used the laundry so I can't answer that question.

I was just at the Sheraton Ft Lauderdale for a conference in November. It is a wonderful hotel.

f-mattox 01-14-2010 03:42 PM

I haven't been on Ruby Princess; but the Princess ships I have been on all have coin-operated washers, dryers, and soap and bleach dispensers. There is a $1.00 bill change-maker right in the laundry.

pink845 01-14-2010 05:49 PM

Sting,

If I understand correctly, you have booked a cabin on Plaza Deck, an oceanview cabin. You have been given a cabin number. Very seldom does Princess "almost certainly give out upgrades". I have sailed Princess four times in the last few years and never been upgraded especially when there is more than two people in a cabin. There is always the possibility of course but I would not count on it. Holiday sailings are always very crowded and popular. The Plaza Deck is actually the happening place. You have the great International Cafe right there and there is always some action taking place in the Piazza right there too. The coffee bar is there and there are some comfy sofas to sit in to people watch. There is also much less motion on Deck 5. My kids were on Deck 5 and I was up on DEck 12 and I definitely felt the difference. We found the coke cards I believe under $30US to be great for our boys. They could order pop in the dining room or at any bar unlimited. ALso, we bought the coffee card for $25 = gave us 15 specialty coffees (you can order the large size if you want and you can also order the frozen coffees) A lot of people do not know this and think it is only the hot lattes. There is also a frozen milkshake or smooothy card which we learned about late in the cruise so we did not buy it. Please note that the coffee card carries over to any other Princess cruise. It is a little card with jokers on it. There are laundries on the floors. We made use of them on our 12 day cruise last May. We brought our own soap. But you can buy it there too.

penny3333 01-15-2010 01:14 PM

Hi Sting, welcome to Cruise-Chat! I do hope you enjoy Princess as much as we do, they're our favorite line. They should be having Easter Egg hunts, and the Easter bunny for the children and they will have a church service, too. It's a nondenominational service, and sometimes they will have mass.

In case you're interested, here are some pictures of the Emerald which is a sister ship to the Ruby.

Hope you have a marvelous cruise and fabulous weather!

GlennM 01-17-2010 07:03 AM

We cruised the Ruby last Easter and we had the same questions for our 8 year old daughter. the kids staff put on an easter egg hunt, decorated eggs, and did other crafts during a holiday fare. The culinary staff made some exquisite egg sculptures for Easter Sunday. We stopped at a dollar store a bought a few of the plastic eggs prior to leaving and did a egg hunt in the room. We also brought a small Easter Basket in our luggage.

They did have a soda card with some add ons. The basic package was around $25. Options to add on ice cream and milkshakes cost more.

We used the laundry facilities as well. There are bill changers for coins. The washers are large and very clean. Loads were about a dollar and soap was the same. They were very nice after a port day with wet bathing suits that never seem to dry in the room.

You will love the ship. We were so impressed with Ruby and the Princess line that we are booked on another 7 day later this April on Star Princess.

Enjoy your trip,

Glenn

Sting 01-20-2010 01:29 AM

Thanks for the advise....

Now I have another quesion someone ovr here has recommended a visit to Busches theme pak in Tampa.....

Anyone have any opinions. also how to get there from FT Lauderdale, not really interested in hiring a car as you lot drive on the wrong side of the road...HA HA

Cruise Fanatic 01-20-2010 06:10 AM

Tampa and Ft Lauderdale are approximately 268 miles apart. You would definitely have to fly or rent a car. Are you planning on several days pre/post?

penny3333 01-20-2010 11:40 AM

You could fly up to Tampa, but renting a car would be much less expensive. There are some fun things to do in Ft. Lauderdale, but nothing like Busch Gardens.

spoheat 01-21-2010 11:13 AM

Busch gardens is one of my favorite places on earth. Consider, however, that I have been there with preteen and teen children. You get the rides of an amusement park (amazing roller coasters) along with a world class zoo. Of course we sprang for the extras, like hand feeding giraffes (book as soon as you enter the park this fills). I am an avid gardener and just loved looking at the amazing landscaping. Also as theme parks go the food is the best we have had (although typically overpriced). Having said all that I am not sure I would drive 200+ miles in a strange country to get there when there are things to do in the Lauderdale area. Central/inland Florida has little to offer so you will be unable to justify this as a sight seeing excursion.


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