Judy Koutsky
Cruise Critic Contributor
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating: Dining

Foodies will appreciate the many choices -- both free and fee-based -- aboard Ruby Princess; there are many options available throughout the day (and night). The food was good and the options diverse, and if you don't like a meal you've receive, they will promptly replace it with something else you'd prefer.

We did appreciate that overall, the food in the general dining rooms, buffets and the specialty restaurants seemed equal in taste and presentation. You don't have to pay more for good food on Ruby Princess.

Cruisers with special dietary needs (gluten-free, low-sodium, vegetarian) can be accommodated but should alert the cruise line ahead of sailing or the main dining room maitre d' immediately upon getting on the ship.

Free Dining

Michelangelo, Botticelli and Da Vinci Dining Rooms (Decks 5 and 6)

Meals: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Dinner (D)

There are three dining rooms open for both traditional dinner seatings (5 p.m. and 7:15 p.m.) and the line's more flexible Anytime Dining (5 to 10 p.m.), where passengers can sit with just their immediate group or ask to be seated with other cruise passengers. Michelangelo and Botticelli are used for traditional dining and Da Vinci is for Anytime Dining.

Breakfast is usually offered in just one of the main dining rooms (which one may vary by sailing), while lunch is only available on sea days and on select port days.

Breakfast options include the usual morning options, such as French toast, omelets and pastries. Lunch and dinners include salads, soups, meat and fish. Service for breakfast and lunch is a little longer than dinner, especially if you're signed up for early dinner where the servers need to get everyone served and out of the dining room in time for the later seating.

International Cafe (Deck 5)

Meals: Open 24/7

One of the biggest draws of this cafe is that it's open 24 hours and is a popular place for a late-night snack or a grab-and-go breakfast before an early-morning excursion. You'll find both free and extra-fee items, though most of the food and pastries are complimentary.

Horizon Court (Deck 15)

Meals: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Dinner (D)

Horizon Court is a casual buffet restaurant on Ruby Princess and is a big draw for many passengers who enjoy the fresh meals (food is constantly being replenished) and prefer the serve-yourself atmosphere to the more formal sit-down options in the main dining rooms.

At lunch and dinner, there is always a nice combination of healthy options (salads, fruits and vegetables), American cuisine (chicken and beef) and different ethnic dishes (Indian, Italian) each day.

The hours are consistent: continental breakfast: 5 to 6 a.m.; regular breakfast: 6 to 11:30 a.m.; lunch: 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; afternoon snack: 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. and dinner: 5:30 p.m.to midnight.

Slice Pizzeria (Deck 15)

Meals: L, D

Perhaps the most consistently popular place on the ship, Slice Pizzeria offers freshly made pizza, usually with different toppings each day. Plus, you can get an order of avocado toast. We loved how creative the cooks were here; on our Alaska sailing, they served a "glacier pizza," which consisted of various cheese toppings.

Coffee & Cones (Deck 15)

Meals: Snacks

This is another popular spot onboard, especially with kids who lined up every day for the complimentary ice cream cones -- chocolate, vanilla or swirl -- with sprinkle toppings. Additional items, such as specialty coffees and desserts, are available for a fee.

Room Service

Meals: Available 24/7

Room service is available all day, with breakfast items more limited and ordered via a paper menu you hang on the outside of your cabin door. Always available items (such as sandwiches) are available most of the day. Most items were complimentary, but some carried a charge.

Fee Dining

Pricing was accurate at time of review but may have changed since.

SHARE (Deck 16); $29 for adults; $14.50 for children 3 to 12
Meals: D

This restaurant -- celebrity chef, Curtis Stone's first eatery at sea -- is a good spot for couples looking for a romantic evening out or groups looking to share a big meal together. Designed as a six-course menu, the idea is that each person in a dining party will pick six small bites they want to try and everyone will then share. There are lots of choices -- including steak, salmon and vegetarian options -- and everything we tried was tasty. Reservations are recommended.

Crown Grill (Deck 7); $29 for adults; $14.50 for children 3 to 12
Meals: D

The most popular extra-fee dining venue onboard, Crown Grill is a French-style steakhouse that works well for both a romantic dinner or a festive group outing. The service is top-notch and the food excellent with a variety of cuts along with seafood options. Reservations are highly recommended.

The Salty Dog (Deck 15); $12
Meals: D

This pub-style venue, located inside the Wheelhouse lounge, was developed with chef Ernesto Uchimura, creator of the original Umami Burger. In addition to the various burgers on the menu, the alcohol selection (which costs extra) includes a diverse variety of beer, whiskey and cocktail selections. The live music gives this a fun, festive vibe.

Crab Shack (Deck 15); $29

This restaurant is open on select evenings during the cruise (check the daily Princess Patter newsletter for hours). It offers seafood selections from crawfish boil to mussels and clams.

Ruby Princess Ship Stats

  • Crew: 1,200
  • Launched: November 2008
  • Decks: 19
  • Passengers: 3,080
  • Registry: Bermuda
  • CDC Score: 98

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