ICYMI: My family and I recently got back from an amazing vacation – cruising Alaska on board the Ruby Princess.
If you’re planning an Alaskan cruise (or any cruise, really) soon, be sure to check out my post about prep and packing.
This week, though, we turn our focus to two of my favorite activities both on vacation and in life: eating and sleeping!
We are so very fortunate that my in-laws splurged to bring the whole family on this anniversary trip, and we happily accepted the inside stateroom they picked for us. Sure, we knew it might be a little tight, but we also knew we wouldn’t be spending too much time in there anyway.
As small as the room was (about 175 square feet), Princess does a really great job of taking advantage of every nook and cranny, including creative storage areas throughout the room. Three people in a room that size for a week amounts to A LOT of stuff, but once we were settled in, there was a place for everything – including our gigantic suitcases.
We were worried about the temperature, but you can get the room really chilly if that’s your preference AND the beds were super comfy. Our room steward, Renne, and his team were magical, and our beds were somehow ALWAYS made. A little chocolate on our pillows every evening didn’t hurt either.
I would say the biggest challenge for us, and specifically for my 6’3″ husband was the bathroom. Fun fact: guests can use the showers at the Lotus Spa (along with the sauna and steam room) at no cost. So, if you’re looking for a little more space or if two of you need to get ready at once, it’s a good option.
As for the food…
I had decided before the trip, that I would use this vacation as a kick-start to a few lifestyle changes…healthier diet included. That MIGHT have not been the best idea because there were yummy treats around every corner and at every hour of the day on board the Ruby Princess.
My standard breakfast on the ship was scrambled eggs and sausage from the Horizon Court buffet on Deck 15, but I couldn’t resist a couple of AM calorie splurges. The International Cafe (located in The Piazza on Deck 5) had some very delicious donuts and pastries available in the morning – and equally delicious desserts and gelato at all other times of the day/night.
My son always gorged himself at breakfast. He’d start with a bowl of Rice Krispies, followed by pancakes and bacon. A few bites of eggs and a small container of yogurt later… He rarely eats that much, which speaks volumes about the quality of the food.
Lunch was kind of all over the map. In a week on the ship, we had pizza, burgers, an assortment of items from a Chinese buffet, pasta – you name it! The guys in our group were especially partial to the Pizza & Ice Cream Bar on Deck 15. They offered cheese and pepperoni slices, as well as a different specialty pizza every day. Plus, it tasted a lot like a cheap New York slice – YUM!
We also enjoyed lunch out at a couple of the ports. By far my favorite of those meals was at the Crab Cracker in Ketchikan. I had what may have been the best crab cakes I’ve ever had in my life, as well as some really yummy calamari. It was actually recommended that we visit the Alaska Fish House, but we opted to sit down and have a server next door instead of walking up to their counter.
We decided that no matter what else we were doing during the day, the whole family would reunite for dinner in the evening. To make things easy, we opted for a set dinner time in the Botticelli Dining Room on Deck 6 (as opposed to the Anytime Dining option Princess also offers).
Over the course of the week, we got to know our delightful servers, Dimitri and Filip, and enjoyed some more great food. Some of my favorite were the Hazelnut Crusted Salmon, the French Onion Soup, and (courtesy of Curtis Stone and his new partnership with Princess Cruises) the Chicken and Leek Pot Pie.
My favorite item in the dining room? Goat. Cheese. Souffle. I ordered it rather hesitantly, but one bite and, well, let’s just say I didn’t even think to take a picture of it.
For dessert, all bets are off, and I didn’t hesitate to get the most drool-worthy items available to me. My favorite was definitely one of the Chocolate Journeys concoctions offered on the second night. I SO regret not taking a picture because it was as beautiful as it was delicious. The “Princess Love Boat Dream” – rich chocolate mousse over a brownie – was also mighty tasty. And since it’s one of the “always available” options, there’s a chance I ordered that more than once…
Of course there were drinks, too! We enjoyed a very informative wine tasting (five wines for less than $10 a person) during one of our afternoons at sea. Plus, even though we were in Alaska, we tried our fair share of fruity cocktails. Our favorite spot for those was the Explorers Lounge on Deck 7.
All in all, the food and drinks aboard the Ruby Princess are really good, and you will never run the risk of getting hungry…or thirsty!
Stay tuned next week as I go day by day through our cruise and take a closer look at on board activities and on shore excursions.