When Ruby Princess launches on November 8, the ship will introduce a host of new shipboard services and special features, underscoring Princess’ tradition of continually evolving the onboard experience for its passengers. Among the new options is a pub lunch, an exclusive breakfast for suite passengers, unique enrichment programs from astronomy to mixology, two new stage shows, plus expanded wireless Internet and cell phone connectivity.
The 3,070-passenger vessel will feature the familiar favorites that have become passenger pleasers aboard its sister ships Crown Princess and Emerald Princess but, in addition, other special touches and innovations will be found throughout the service, dining and entertainment areas.
“The new features aboard Ruby Princess are a perfect example of our commitment to provide passengers with the widest array of intriguing options to customize their cruise vacation,” said Jan Swartz, Princess senior vice president.
Many of the ship’s enhancements are slated to become staples across the Princess fleet following their debut on Princess’ newest ship. Among the new features being introduced on Ruby Princess:
Wheelhouse Bar Pub Lunch – On sea days, Ruby Princess’ Wheelhouse Bar will be transformed into an authentic English-style pub, serving a selection of traditional fare. A menu of British favorites, including bangers & mash, fish & chips, ploughman’s lunch and cottage pie, will complement a selection of traditional pub brews such as Stella Artois, Bass Ale or Guinness. Pub lunch meal service is free of charge and will run from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Sabatini’s Breakfast for Suite Passengers – Suite passengers aboard Ruby Princess will have the opportunity to enjoy an exclusive breakfast in Sabatini’s. Beginning with a “Good Morning Mimosa,” the menu features a variety of breakfast favorites, plus specialty items such as brioche French toast with apple & cinnamon compote, yogurt and super granola parfait with raspberry swirl, soft-poached egg over potato & vegetables with hollandaise sauce, and freshly made Belgian waffles. Suite passengers can enjoy this new amenity, along with the restaurant’s dramatic top-of-ship views, from approximately 7:30 to 10:30 a.m.
Artisan Cheeses at Vines – In addition to serving more than 30 wines by the glass and seafood appetizers that have made Vines a passenger favorite, the atrium-area bar on Ruby Princess will now feature a selection of domestic and imported artisan cheeses. Twelve varieties – including unique choices such as boschetto al tartufo bianchetto, reblochon, and cambozola – will be featured each day for a nominal fee. Vines will also host a series of lively events where passengers can meet members of the ship’s staff, and will continue to offer wine flights and parings.
New Enrichment Programs – A number of new ScholarShip@Sea enrichment programs debut aboard Ruby Princess to expand passengers’ horizons, whether they aspire to host the perfect party or increase their maritime knowledge. The Art of Entertaining offers passengers the opportunity to learn party-planning tips from lifestyle expert Susie Coelho via a multimedia presentation hosted by the cruise director. Navigation@Sea focuses on the history of navigation as well as the complexities of plotting the route of a modern cruise ship, with a presentation by the ship’s navigator. Mixology@Sea lets passengers channel their inner bartender with a hands-on course taught by the ship’s bar manager. For star gazers, the new Astronomy@Sea program provides passengers with the opportunity to explore the night sky through a telescope on the top deck, with the expert guidance of a ship’s bridge officer. Developed in conjunction with Dr. Thomai Serdari, Professor of Art History and Director of Research Collections for New York University, Art History@Sea: Botticelli to Warhol, The Evolution of Art makes 500 years of art come to life with a special hour-long presentation.
Two New Production Shows – Ruby Princess audiences will be able to enjoy two new Princess-produced shows in the ship’s theater. “Broadway Ballroom” presents the music of the ‘Great White Way’ with a ballroom flair, pairing the songs of hit musicals with dance numbers ranging from foxtrot to rumba. The show also features the talents of a costume designer and choreographer from the TV hit “Dancing with the Stars.” Meanwhile, “Once Upon a Dream” uses unique multidimensional cinematic projection to follow a dreamscape unlike anything seen a sea. The audience will accompany a young woman’s journey as she dreams of everything from a tea party in an English garden to singing camels in the desert, and even a trip through a waterfall and brief nightmare before waking to a new day.
The Audience Gets in the Act – A variety of new audience-participation events will also debut on the ship, giving passengers a number of ways to seek their 15 minutes of fame. Karaoke fans can go a bit farther with Love Boat Legends, where they are actually transformed into a famous artist of the past. So You Wanna Be A Rock Star? moves beyond pre-recorded Karaoke tunes to give audience members the opportunity to rock out with a live band on stage. Oceans of Talent puts passenger talent center stage – whether they play a musical instrument or want to try out their comedic timing. The Wake Up Show takes Princess’ popular morning show with the cruise director to a new level with an irreverent talk show format, live band, special guests and an opportunity for passengers to join the “studio” audience, as the show is taped in the evening before its broadcast the next morning.
A Few Fine Touches – A number of new service touches will be introduced to delight passengers. In the Horizon Court buffet, new waffle stations will offer fresh cooked-to-order waffles at breakfast and throughout lunchtime, and the buffet will also begin serving complimentary lemonade as a beverage choice. In the evening, passengers will find a selection of canapés in several of the ship’s public lounges. Passengers arriving back from shore will be greeted with chilled face cloths, and by the pool, “misting stewards” will offer a quick refreshing spritz with Evian to cool off.
Kid Stuff – Young passengers can enjoy a new Wizards Academy, an exclusive presentation from the award-winning California Science Center. This enriching new program lets children explore the connection between science and magic in a fun and participative environment. Kids will also enjoy activities and projects from popular arts and crafts company Klutz, or participate in Yoga for Kids, a healthy and fun course designed specifically for children.
Wireless Internet and Cell Phones – Expanding on Princess’ Internet and phone connectivity, Ruby Princess will offer laptop users additional wireless hotspots around the vessel, including staterooms. The ship will also be equipped so that passengers can use their personal cellular phones, if they have international roaming plans, while onboard.
Ultimate Ship Tour – A new exclusive opportunity to experience an array of “back of house” areas that are key to a ship’s daily operations, the Ultimate Ship Tour will give passengers the unique opportunity to explore beyond the public areas with visits to the ship’s engine control room, medical center, print shop, laundry, photo lab, funnel, bridge and other spaces. In addition to getting a rare insider’s view of many areas typically seen only by the ship’s crew, participants will receive a variety of themed mementos at many of the stops along the route.
Ruby Princess also includes a dramatic piazza-style atrium featuring small-bite eateries and an ever-changing array of performing street entertainers, Princess’ signature adults-only oasis called The Sanctuary, Sabatini’s Italian restaurant, Crown Grill seafood and steak house, “Movies Under the Stars” giant outdoor movie screen, and Hearts and Minds wedding chapel. The ship will feature an inaugural season of Western Caribbean cruises roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, followed by a program of Mediterranean voyages in summer 2009.