Saturday, April 26, 2014

Ruby Princess Has A Heart - The Love Boat is Alive and Well

February 10th – 15th 2014 the Ruby Princess with Princess Cruises embarked on a unique mission to the Western Caribbean to support the American Heart Association.  Onboard were leaders with the American Heart Association as well as a few celebrity speakers all gathering to bring attention to heart disease and an updated method of CPR that focuses more on getting the heart to start again after a heart attack.  Senior Vice President & Chief Medical Officer with Princess Cruises, Dr. Grant Tarling was onboard to produce an event to educate passengers and crew about “hands only” CPR using the beat from the song Staying Alive sung by the Bee Gees.  Among the celebrities onboard this special cruise was Chef Marc Anthony Bynum, Ary Nunez who is a celebrity trainer and fitness expert.  Four-time Super Bowl champion Jesse Sapolu of the NFL San Francisco 49ers told us his story of heart surgery and football.  The beloved actor from The Love Boat television series, Bernie Kopell, who played The Doc on the show, entertained passenger with a Q&A session.  The entire cruise event was created to support the American Heart Association and educate passengers and crew about heart disease.

I’ve been on hundreds of cruises, produced many videos and audio podcasts, and I have taken thousands of photos on numerous cruises over the past fifteen years, however; this was my first cruise with Princess Cruises, so I want to present to you my perspective on this Cruise With Heart aboard the Ruby Princess.  I must admit I had preconceived thoughts about Princess Cruises and their ships, based on many reviews and articles written over the years.  I’m very pleased to say that my expectations were exceeded and I was very impressed with the Ruby Princess.  The Princess Cruise’s Love Boat brand certainly remains alive and well onboard, evident by the great level of service among the crew.  The dining experience was excellent, and I enjoyed the cuisine and d├ęcor of the restaurants.  It’s interesting as a ‘student of the cruise industry’ to witness the early beginnings of cruise lines and how they’ve grown-up over the past twenty years.  In my humble opinion, Princess Cruises has aged well. 

The crew learning the Hands-Only method of CPR
The theme for this cruise was all about creating healthy habits to take care of your heart and to learn the ‘Hands-Only’ method of CPR which has saved countless lives over the years.  Passengers enjoyed the seminars from celebrity experts and catching photo ops with television star Bernie Kopell and NFL 49’er Jesse Sabolu.  For those who have been on many cruises, these themed cruise events can truly be a delight to vacation and learn valuable tips on daily living and health.



A very meaningful and special surprise from Captain Fabrizio Maresca and Dr. Grant Tarling, was when they honored Bernie Kopell for his role on The Love Boat, by giving him a promotion from a three stripe officer to a four stripe commander for his years of service aboard The Love Boat and Princess Cruises from 1976 to present.  In a short but sweet presentation in the Piazza atrium, Bernie Kopell was given a new officer blazer with four-stripes and a nametag acknowledging his nearly forty years of service.  I’m going to continue writing about the massive impact The Love Boat television show had on the cruise industry, because I’m not sure it’s too well known how significant this little TV show had on this multi-Billion dollar industry.   I also planned ahead and through Cruising Authority, presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to Bernie Kopell.  I’d like to give each of the main actors from The Love Boat, the same Lifetime Achievement Award, and hopefully soon, I will have that opportunity.   For those of us that enjoy the cruise industry, we owe a great debt of gratitude for that TV show.

This particular voyage on the Ruby Princess was unique because it was a five-night cruise, allowing more people to experience a taste of Princess Cruises within five glorious days to the Western Caribbean ports of Grand Cayman and Cozumel.  Typically, Princess Cruises operates longer voyages starting at seven nights and even ten to fourteen-day trips world-wide.  I was thrilled to bring my wife on this cruise because it gave me an opportunity to take her to Grand Cayman, a port she had never been to.  I chose the Stingray City and City Tour Excursion, which made stops at Hell, the Turtle Farm and then a boat ride out to the sandbar where Stingray City is.  The weather was perfect; perfect water temperature, and perfect air temperature.  The boat stops at the sandbar, and passengers jump into the beautiful water that is only waist deep, with perfect white sand, and stingrays swimming around our feet searching for a treat.  Our guide took pictures of us holding the stingrays, feeding them, kissing them and we even got a back-rub from these strange sea creatures.

The next day, Ruby Princess took us to Cozumel where my wife and I embarked on a very unique and exhilarating excursion.  Two world-class, America’s Cup racing yachts, the American Stars & Stripes and the Canadian yacht True North.  Each boat carried ten passengers that were all given jobs to drive the yachts, some tightened the main sail and some the forward sail, while others managed the ropes and even steered the boat.  Both vessels competed in an actual race, so the passenger’s felt the adrenaline as the wind swept these large sailing yachts across the sea at speeds of roughly ten to twelve knots.  With the sea spray from the water splashing over the bow, the wind, and sound of the sails, this authentic race was very exciting and a lot of fun!  I’ve been on a sale boat a number of times and I do know how to sail, but this was something special to operate and ride on this fine-tuned racing yacht!

Award presented to Bernie Kopell
Also unique to this cruise aboard Ruby Princess was that this particular cruise was during Valentines Day, perfect for couples to renew their vows and enjoy an incredibly romantic environment aboard The Love Boat.  In the shops onboard I bought something special for my wife for Valentines day.  I found a charm bracelet and picked out some meaningful charms that I knew my wife Terri would like.   Of course the gift was a big hit; she loved it!  So this cruise had many firsts…#1first cruise with Princess Cruises, #2 first time cruising with my wife on Valentines Day, #3 first time my wife visited Grand Cayman, and #4 first time on a racing yacht.   My advice, make every effort to cruise with Princess Cruises, especially on Valentines Day!

This cruise was made possible by The Cruise Brothers at www.cruisebrothers.com or call them at 1-800-827-7779 and also TravelSafe at www.travelsafe.com or call them at 1-888-885-7233


Be sure and visit Cruising Authority at www.cruisetalkshow.com.  Friend us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cruiseships you might also like to subscribe to our Youtube Channel where we have many great videos.  


Watch as Cruising Authority presents Bernie Kopell with a Lifetime Achievement Award!


Here is the first video in our four-part series filmed aboard the Ruby Princess