This was our first cruise out of a 'pacific' port and we loved it - we will definitely be back. The ease of flying into LA was perfect. We landed, ate breakfast at Planet Hollywood in the International Terminal at LAX (before security) and then took an uber to the port. Embarkation was a breeze - our room wasn't ready so we just explored the ship.
Our cabin D734 was amazing - very private balcony, great location near pools and buffet. Our steward (Paolo) was the best.
Buffet - we eat primarily in the buffet for all meals and were never disappointed. Same food as available in the dining room with more options and flexibility. Seating always available. The hours are superior to other cruise lines. We enjoyed the food!
Ship: Ruby is a classic princess ship with some new updates - wall-mounted TVs in the rooms with ondemand content was great - we watched a new release movie every night. There are some really nice murals and updates on deck 15 - instagram-worthy backdrops! I love the variety of places to get away and make a spot to read a book, play games or just walk. We enjoyed the golfing green to ourselves on multiple occasions. Other 'super ships' we have been on - you can't even see the ocean from the ship, such a drag.
Photos: All inclusive photo package was a nice option - it's always hard to pick a few photos. We knew we were going to do it so we took full advantage of all photo opportunities. The photography staff is always so nice and we have some wonderful family photos with ALL of us. The price is a bit high at $249 and the 'digital copies' are actually just scans (which I could have done at home...) but still was worth it for us.
Shows: The magician and other popular entertainment was in the Explorer's lounge which would fill to capacity 30 minutes before the show started. We missed out on multiple entertainment options due to this - they should move to larger venues for the popular events.
Salty Dog Grill: Menu and food was good but service was not great. Confusing and didn't run efficiently (had to provide your order multiple times to multiple people, served cold due to confusion).
Kids program: I wish they would allow the parents to join the children for craft activities. I don't leave my child at the program but we would have loved to participate in some of the activities they had planned.
Excursions: We booked an excursion through Princess for each port (Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta). All went well and met our expectations.
Cabo San Lucas - whale watching from speed boat (zodiac). The seas were rough so we were told we could get a full refund or go for half a tour and half price. No guarantees on seeing a whale since we were only allowed to go about a mile out. In the first 10 minutes we saw two whales fully breach - it was amazing. The landscape of Cabo is beautiful. We then went back to the marina and walked to The Office for lunch and played on the beach. We took a water taxi back to the Marina.Our favorite port by far!
Mazatlan - Estuary bird-watching - Very fun tour - up close experience with Pelicans and other birds. Our tour guide (Polo) was amazingly educated in birds and we enjoyed a nice boat ride, tractor ride on the beach and then lunch on the beach. Vendors on the beach damper my personal experience but they are friendly and walk-away when told 'no thank you' - you just have to do it 100000 times.
Puerto Vallarta - Kid Dolphin Encounter (4-8 yo). My son loved this - I thought it was 'ok'. Not very coordinated - we were put on a bus and it drove off without any guide or idea of where we were going or how long. It took about 30 minutes. Upon arrival to the dolphin encounter visit everything went fine - my son was the only child so it didn't take long (about 15-20 minutes overall). It felt rushed and short. The photos were good (you couldn't take your own) and the cost was less than $200 USD for all the photos and a video. We ended up back on the ship at the pool after the excursion. The port offered mostly shopping (walmart, sam's club and a shopping mall directly across the street)
Amazing room! Great location on Deck 9 near the pools and buffet. VERY private balcony with no rooms on the left and a suite on the right - no one can see in from above or below. We used the drop-down bunk bed. I would pick this room 100x over, worth any extra cost associated. The view was always great too!
Loved the port - easily accessible from LAX and SO interesting to watch the nation's busiest and largest port in action.